The Importance Of Iodine During Pregnancy
Written by: Co-Founder Maria Davi
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Nicole Palmer, DO
In this article:
Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients are essential for your body to make a healthy beautiful baby. One of the most important minerals that is commonly overlooked during pregnancy is Iodine. Even though our bodies require only a tiny amount of it, that small amount of Iodine in our diet is really important for you and your developing baby.
Iodine is a mineral found in food and can be added to any meal, thanks to iodized salt. The introduction of iodized salt in the 1920’s helped make Iodine deficiency rare in the U.S. Consuming adequate amounts of Iodine during pregnancy helps the fetus with brain development and physical growth.
You should still monitor your intake of Iodine during pregnancy because Iodine deficiency still remains a global issue. Many people have switched iodized table salt for sea salt, which isn’t iodized, or eat processed foods, which also usually isn’t iodized.
The lack of Iodine during pregnancy and a deficiency of Iodine results in complications for both you and your developing baby. Here are some benefits of Iodine during pregnancy.
WHY IS IODINE IMPORTANT IN PREGNANCY?
Iodine requirement during pregnancy is essential for the development of the fetal brain, nervous system, and thyroid development. Iodine helps maintain the normal function of the gland in the base of your neck, your thyroid. This gland plays a key role in regulating your hormones that control your metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, and other body functions.
Getting enough Iodine while pregnant ensures the fetal thyroid develops properly. During the first trimester, this is especially important because your developing baby’s thyroid gland is developing and still unable to produce thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is needed for normal brain development and continues to support their brain and body after birth.
Severe Iodine deficiency in soon-to-mothers has been associated with miscarriages, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and congenital abnormalities in their babies. Mothers with severe Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to their babies having intellectual disabilities and problems with growth, hearing, and speech. According to the American Thyroid Associates, “Iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of intellectual disabilities in the world. Even mild Iodine deficiency during pregnancy, which may be present in some women in the United States, may be associated with low intelligence in children.”
HOW MUCH IODINE DURING PREGNANCY DO WOMEN NEED?
The recommended Iodine intake during pregnancy is 220 mg. Iodine is also vital for women who are breastfeeding since you pass Iodine to your baby through breast milk. The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for lactating mothers is 290 mg, which helps support your newborn’s growth and development, especially the brain.
DO PRENATAL VITAMINS HAVE IODINE?
IIn the United States, about half of the prenatal supplements on the market contain iodine. The American Thyroid Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that pregnant women use prenatal supplements containing 150 mcg/day of Iodine. Be sure to check the label on your prenatal vitamins since some do not contain Iodine.
If you have a known thyroid disease, like hypothyroidism, let your healthcare provider know if you’re trying to conceive or are pregnant. Also, discuss your thyroid disease with your healthcare provider before taking any Iodine supplement during pregnancy.
★ Here’s a little bonus. Iodine and Iron work together to maintain energy production from oxygen, giving you a little pep in your step!
CAN YOU CONSUME TOO MUCH IODINE?
The short answer to that is yes! The tolerable upper limits or the most that can be safely consumed, set by the US Institute of Medicine is 1,100 mg per day. Excess Iodine may put you and your baby at risk of hypothyroidism and more serious problems.
According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, women who exceeded the recommended amounts of Iodine during pregnancy gave birth to babies that suffered from congenital hypothyroidism, which is a condition when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. Excess Iodine causes the thyroid to temporarily decrease function to protect against hyperthyroidism. A thyroid deficiency that if left untreated, can lead to intellectual disabilities and growth failure, as well as heart problems.
WHICH FOODS ARE HIGH IN IODINE?
Iodized salt can be added to any food but we recommended Eating Whole Foods with naturally containing iodine.
BEST FOODS RICH IN IODINE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN:
Fish, such as Baked Cod, Tuna, Seaweed, and Shrimp. (No more than 12 ounces per week)
Dairy Products, such as Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese.
★ BEST PRENATAL VITAMIN WITH IODINE
One of the best over-the-counter prenatal vitamins during pregnancy is Feed Mom & Me Complete Prenatal with DHA. It contains 150 mcg of Iodine, Potassium Iodide.
This prenatal supplement is formulated by an OBGYN & Registered Dietitian, containing all the nutrients needed to conceive and during pregnancy. Each small and easy-to-swallow pill is packed with 22 vital natural nutrients to provide nutritional support for you and your growing baby. It contains Folate, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), Iron, Calcium, Choline, Zinc and much more.
The vegetarian formula is free of artificial colors or flavors, chemicals, preservatives, non-GMO, dairy-free, soy-free, or gluten-free. Each capsules contains B6, Organic Ginger, and Peppermint Powder, which can help alleviate morning sickness and nausea.
Adding to that, it is a women-owned company. Who better than a female would understand pregnancy!