Doctors Recommend Iodine Supplements During Pregnancy

pregnantAmerican women, may not be getting enough iodine  –  an element that is essential in the development of babies’ brains, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

The increase in mild iodine deficiency may be a consequence of the increased consumption of processed foods,  which generally contain noniodized salt. 

A severely iodine-deficient fetus or infant can suffer irreversible mental damage. However, Dr. Jerome Paulson, a pediatrician at Children’s National Health System, explains that these results do not indicate low enough levels for severe brain damage or learning disabilities. He explains:

The brain development issues are very subtle and are not likely to be noticed in an individual child. It’s an issue for society as a whole when you have a large number of children who are not reaching their full potential.

In other words, a mild deficiency may hinder a child’s capacity to reach their full potential.  

Only 15-20% of pregnant and nursing women take supplements containing iodine. Dr Paulson says:

Women should make sure they are taking a supplement when they are thinking about becoming pregnant or are pregnant. Taking a supplement with potassium iodide in it will maximize the child’s potential long term.

Women who are vegan and who don’t eat fish are also likely to have an iodine deficiency. 

Dr. Luigi Garibaldi highlights the fact that there is no need for women to be alarmed by the results – especially when little is known about the effects of slight iodine deficiency. 

I think the main thing is that the FDA should make sure that prenatal vitamins contain all the essential nutrients. It’s very important that vitamins such as Vitamin D which is useful in calcifying bones, and elements such as iodine be part of prenatal vitamins.