Peer Reviewed
Women's health

Iodine deficiency: the importance of supplementation during pregnancy and lactation

Creswell J Eastman
Surveys have shown that most pregnant Australian women are iodine deficient, ingesting about half the daily requirement. Women need to be made aware of the increased need for iodine during pregnancy and lactation and the importance of iodine supplementation at this time.
Key Points

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘iodine deficiency is the world’s most prevalent, yet most easily preventable cause of brain damage and more than two billion people worldwide are at risk of developing one or more of the effects of IDD [iodine deficiency disorders]’. Dietary iodine deficiency results in a broad spectrum of disorders, collectively known as iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), comprising endemic goitre, hypothyroidism, obstetric complications, increased neonatal morbidity and mortality, and mild-to-severe brain damage that may vary from small loss of IQ to frank cretinism.

    The key points from this article are summarised in the box.

    Picture credit: © Phototake RM/Carol and Mike Werner/

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