The Importance of Iodine During Pregnancy
I admit that I am one of those pregnant women that are horrible with taking their prenatal vitamins.
It started with the vicious morning sickness that struck during my first pregnancy each and every time I downed that giant pill and has kind of carried over into the lingering fear that I will be sick all the time yet again.
But deep down, I know how importance those prenatal vitamins are and luckily, I have a husband who keeps me on track when I “forget” to take my vitamins–like this morning. Whoops.
And now, a recent study has shown that even those daily prenatal vitamins may not be enough.
Apparently, most women of childbearing age (is that you?) are already at risk of being iodine-deficient, because our daily diets don't include a lot of iodine. Although Americans especially eat a lot of salty, highly-processed foods, the salt contained in those foods doesn't contain iodine.
So why does that matter?
Well, first of all, iodine is an important nutrient for ensuring normal brain development in babies; additionally, an iodine deficiency can actually worsen the effects of certain environmental pollutants, such as nitrate, thiocyanate, and perchlorate, according to a study in Pediatrics.
Second of all, researchers of the study noted that because so many pregnancies are unplanned (50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned–something I know all too well), more women are at risk for the iodine deficiency since they may not know they are pregnant right away and therefore, not start prenatal care or vitamins early enough in the first trimester, which is when so much of the vital growth and development of the fetus happens.
To combat the risks of iodine deficiency, The American Thyroid Association recommends that pregnant and lactating women take a supplement with adequate iodine–and to be sure to double check the labeling to ensure that the iodine supplement is adequate, as many supplements don't contain the full iodine content. The study recommends between between 290 and 1100 micrograms per day for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, an amount that isn't always found in regular prenatal vitamins.
Did you take an iodine supplement during pregnancy?