Iodine Deficiency During Pregnancy Affects Babies’ Development

November 12, 2014
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According to a study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Iodine is essential to babies’ brain development.

Iodine plays an important role in regulating the body’s thyroid gland and overall metabolism (the rate at which your body uses energy.)

Recent studies show that many American women have too little iodine. If pregnant, the deficiency may affect their child’s brain
development.

A lack of iodine during pregnancy has also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and stillbirth.

Iodine is found in dairy products, eggs, vegetables, seafood (especially ocean or saltwater inhabitants), and brewer’s yeast. The amount of iodine in many types of food varies according to the amount of iodine in the area’s soil or water.

Since most of the salt consumed in the U.S. comes from processed foods, iodine is no longer a part of the common American diet, said pediatrician Dr. Jerome Paulson.

“The brain development issues are very subtle and are not likely to be noticed in an individual child,” Paulson explained.
He said children will appear to be normal but that they may not be the greatest they could be.

Paulson continued to say: “It’s an issue for society as a whole when you have a large number of children who are not reaching their full potential.”

Rest assured, even though an iodine deficiency affects a child’s brain, it isn’t likely result in a learning disability.
Nevertheless, it’s important to know the signs of an iodine deficiency— an enlarged thyroid gland, fatigue, weakness, depression, intolerance to cold, and weight gain can all result from a lack of iodine.

All women of child bearing age are encouraged to take a dose of the mineral. Pregnant women should consume 220 micrograms a day and breastfeeding moms should take up to 290 micrograms. In addition to taking iodine, women should also take vitamin D in their prenatal vitamin regimen.

The AAP, which represents 60,000 pediatricians and pediatric specialists, says women should seek out supplements that contain at least 150 micrograms of iodide. The supplement, combined with dietary intake, should bring iodine consumption to the recommended amount.

“The main thing is that the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] should make sure that prenatal vitamins contain all the essential nutrients,” Garibaldi said.