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Iodine is a key nutrient the body needs to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are essential to every cell in your body and support the healthy development and function of your brain, heart, bones, muscles, metabolism, and immunity. Thyroid hormones are also vital to the healthy development of the central nervous systems and skeletal systems of fetuses and babies during pregnancy.1-4
Though the body cannot produce iodine on its own, iodine may be obtained through diet (seafood, meat, dairy, and eggs) and supplements.Babies rely on their mothers’ iodine intake while in the womb and during breastfeeding to promote their overall healthy development.
How much iodine do you and your baby need? The American Thyroid Association (ATA) recommends that women who are pregnant or lactating intake 220-250 mcg daily and those who are breastfeeding intake of 250-290 mcg daily.5 To help meet these recommendations, the ATA suggests taking a supplement with 150 mcg of iodine as potassium iodide.6
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees. A policy statement published in AAP’s journal Pediatrics asserts that since pregnant and breastfeeding women may be lacking adequate amounts of iodine in their diet, taking a daily supplement with 150 mcg of iodine, as potassium iodide is recommended. The statement also goes on to say that approximately one-third of pregnant women in the U.S. are marginally iodine deficient.7
The Centers for Disease Control also offers its recommendation, which includes how much iodine you need before you get pregnant. “Women of reproductive age with iodine deficiency should be counseled about the risks of this condition to pregnancy outcomes and about the importance of maintaining an adequate daily dietary iodine intake of 150 mcg during preconception, 220 mcg when pregnant, and 290 mcg during lactation.”8
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is serious for both the mother and the baby. It can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy for the mother and mental retardation for the baby. Iodine plays an important role in development of the central nervous system.”9
If you are concerned about your iodine levels, whether you are thinking about getting pregnant, pregnant, or breastfeeding, ask your healthcare provider about taking an iodine deficiency test. Also, remember to check with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen.
The information included in this article and on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation.