Iodine in pregnancy is essential for the maturation of the brain

Iodine in pregnancy is essential for the maturation of the brain
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Iodine in pregnancy

Iodine is a constituent of thyroid hormones, and intervenes in the formation, growth and development of various organs (crucial is the role played in the maturation of the brain) and systems, as well as in glucose, lipid and protein metabolism. A deficiency could cause hypothyroidism, cretinism and small-for-gestational-age infants. Let's see how much it is needed in pregnancy and in which foods we can find it.

In this article

Iodine and thyroid in pregnancy

Lo iodine it is essential for proper brain development in the fetus and young child. A woman's iodine requirement increases significantly during pregnancy to ensure adequate supply to the fetus: the amount of iodine consumed during pregnancy pregnancy it should grow 150 to 250 micrograms per day.

The human body concentrates iodine in the thyroid, where it enters the formulation of two hormones, triiodiotironina (T3) e tyrosine (T4), regulators of some metabolic functions, but also of the growth and correct functioning of the nervous system.

Foods that contain iodine

Iodine is found mainly in the fish. Also, a good rule of thumb is to replace regular table salt with type iodized. During weaning, in addition to milk, it is essential to offer the baby foods rich in iodine such as fish.

During pregnancy, a balanced diet, with 2 portions of fish a week, milk every day, and a little cheese, guarantees about 50-60% of the iodine requirement.

Read also: How to prevent thyroid disorders

Low iodine in pregnancy

If the mother has a sufficient nutritional supply of iodine during pregnancy, an adequate iodine supply will also be guaranteed to the fetus. Iodized salt adds iodine to the diet and complements its deficiency.

But what are they Risks of Low Iodine Levels During Pregnancy?

Iodine is essential for various body functions and for fetal development, so if it does not reach the fetus enough, its physical and neurological development could be affected, especially if iodine deficiency is accompanied by a deficiency of other thyroid hormones. or a thyroid malfunction.

In particular in the case of rather serious deficiencies, the risk of:

  • fetal and perinatal death;
  • abortion;
  • goiter;
  • hypothyroidism.

Iodized salt in pregnancy

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to guarantee your body the right amount of iodine is to replace normal table salt with some sale iodato. To consume 5 g of iodized salt per day it is equivalent to eating a portion of fish: iodized salt, therefore, adds iodine to the diet and complements its deficiency.

Most foods have a relatively low iodine content. To ensure everyone has a sufficient intake of iodine, theWHO and UNICEF recommend the universal salt iodation as a global strategy. This is not a feasible measure in all countries and therefore, depending on the percentage of households in a particular area that have access to iodized salt, iodine supplementation may be required to ensure that pregnant women receive an intake. appropriate.

WHO and UNICEF recommend iodine supplementation for pregnant and lactating women in countries where less than 20% of families have access to iodized salt.

Other essential vitamins and minerals during pregnancy

With the help of Prof., head of the OU of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Luigi Sacco Hospital of our city and Professor of the University of our city, and of Dr., Food Technologist and PhD in Experimental and Clinical Nutrition, let's see which are the most important vitamins and minerals during the nine months and in which foods they are present.



  • Iodine supplementation in pregnant and lactating women

  • Vitamins
  • mineral salts
  • pregnancy feeding
  • pregnancy diet
  • fruit
  • vegetable children
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