Iodine is a mineral needed to keep our thyroid gland healthy. This gland releases hormones responsible for growth, brain development and metabolism. During pregnancy, more iodine is needed to ensure your baby receives enough of this mineral for a healthy growth. Inadequate iodine during pregnancy increases the risk for:
- Preterm delivery
- Infant mortality
After birth, low iodine increases risk of:
- Impaired brain development
- Impaired intellectual and motor development
- Speech and hearing problems
- Impaired growth
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 220 micrograms (mcg) of iodine daily during pregnancy. You can maintain adequate iodine intake by taking a prenatal multivitamin that contains iodine and following these recommendations:
- Consume daily: iodized salt, eggs, yogurt, milk, cheese or chicken
- Consume 2-3 times a week: fully cooked seafood like cod, tuna, tilapia, oysters or shrimp (remember to avoid seafood high in mercury as it can be toxic for your baby)
- Avoid: Seaweed and kelp-based products as they contain very high amounts of iodine
Be mindful of how much iodine you consume: too much can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland, which can cause breathing and other thyroid problems.
For more prenatal nutrition information, click here.
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