A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending pregnant women — and even those who are of child-bearing age and may become pregnant — place additional focus on whether they are getting enough iodide in their diet; OBGYN recommendations may soon include supplements for women during pregnancies.
The reason is that iodine is critical to creating the thyroid hormones that control a child’s brain development both in the womb and after birth; without iodine, which the mother’s body can synthesize from iodide, that development is less robust. In the United States, regular table salt is fortified with iodide, and has been since the early part of the 20th Century as part of a public health initiative; however with less table salt being used, research suggests as many as one-third of women are iodine deficient.
Recommendations recently published in the journal Pediatrics suggest pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding seek to take a supplement containing 150 micrograms of iodide each day to reach the recommended daily level of 290 micrograms — a number set by both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Thyroid Association. Taking regular prenatal vitamins may not be enough; check with your OBGYN to see if your prenatal or lactation supplements contain enough iodide.
The policy authors also recommend pregnant or nursing women avoid nitrate and thiocyanate — the former is often present in well water, the latter in cigarette smoke and some vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. These two compound inhibit the body’s ability to process iodine, and in high enough amounts can be harmful to fetal and child brain development.
For more information about OBGYN topics, including keeping your body in its best health during and after pregnancy, contact our office today and schedule an appointment!