The Simple Supplement You Need During Pregnancy

If you're currently expecting a baby, you may think that your prenatal vitamin, giant horse pill that it is (am I the only one who had trouble swallowing those darn things?), has got you and your baby covered on the nutritional front. 

And it does, for the most part. That prenatal vitamin is chock full of vitamins like folic acid, iron, and calcium, among other things that your baby needs to develop a healthy neurosystem. 

{ MORE: Considering a Baby at an Older Age? Check These Cs }

But there is one simple mineral that may be missing from your diet that isn't in your prenatal. And taking the supplement could make a significant difference in your baby's health. Even more surprising is that this mineral is often found in every pantry and table across the U.S.

Is the suspense killing you yet?

OK, I'll give: it's iodine. 

Iodine is a mineral that is actually necessary for our bodies to function properly and yet, surprisingly, isn't found naturally in any form in our bodies. So, in other words, we need to get iodine from other sources, like our diet or through a supplement. 

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Image via Flickr/ Markus Grossalber

The American Thyroid Association has a few fun facts about iodine:

  • Iodine is necessary for our thyroids to work properly, which control our hormones. (I'm thinking this is a major factor in pregnancy, which is when all the crazy hormone changes occur … )
  • Most people now get iodine through iodized table salt.
  • Approximately 40% of the world's population is at risk for being deficient.
  • Foods high in iodine include dairy products, seafood, meat, some breads, and eggs. Iodine is also found in the soil and in saltwater. (Yum!)
  • Iodine is not required to be listed on food packages, so it's hard to know the exact amount in your diet

A recent study found that many major countries, such as Sweden and the United States, have women are who iodine deficient, which led the British Medical Journal to suggest that it might be beneficial for all pregnant women to receive iodine supplements. 

“Giving all women iodine supplements during pregnancy, even in countries such as the United Kingdom, where iodine deficiency is only mild, could result in huge cost savings for health services by reducing preventable cognitive impairment in offspring, a modelling study has shown,” the journal stated. 

Iodine deficiencies can be associated with physical and mental growth restrictions for babies, so pregnancy is an extra important time to ensure that you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Unfortunately, too much iodine can also be risky, so it's important to take the recommended levels and speak to your healthcare provider about if an additional supplement is necessary. The current recommendations state that pregnant women should be consuming 150 mcg of iodine either in a supplement or in their prenatal vitamins. 

Did you take an iodine supplement?

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The Simple Supplement You Need During Pregnancy

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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