May 28, 2014 — Pregnant and lactating women should take supplements with iodide to encourage normal brain development in their children, according to a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and published in the journal Pediatrics, Reuters reports.
According to Reuters, iodine is necessary to produce thyroid hormones, which are essential for brain development before and after birth. Most people meet their iodine needs with table salt, which is fortified with iodide in the U.S.
However, processed foods in the U.S. do not contain iodized salt, meaning that pregnant and lactating women who regularly consume such foods are more likely to be iodine deficient.
Details of Recommendations
In its recommendations, AAP's Council on Environmental Health noted that past research shows that about 33% of pregnant women are slightly iodine deficient and that only about 15% of women take supplements containing adequate amounts of iodide. The American Thyroid Association and the National Academy of Sciences suggest that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume about 290 micrograms of iodide daily.
AAP recommended that women's total daily intake of iodide be between 290 and 1,100 micrograms. More specifically, the group suggested that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a supplement that includes at least 150 micrograms of iodide and use iodized table salt. In addition, women who are vegan or do not eat fish should be tested for iodine deficiency.
The group also recommended that pregnant and lactating woman avoid certain chemicals, such as nitrate and thiocyanate, which can disrupt the body's ability to process iodine. It also calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to appropriately regulate perchlorate in waterways because the chemical can disrupt the body's ability to process iodine (Seaman, Reuters, 5/26).