Iodine is an essential nutrient for humans in small quantities. Iodine is used in the body to produce thyroid hormones. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, thyroid activity and therefore iodine requirements, are increased. Thyroid hormones are important for the regulation of growth and the healthy development of the nervous system, coordination, alertness, and the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Sufficient maternal thyroid hormone is essential for the baby’s rapid brain growth which occurs in the first 1000 days of life.
Most people can obtain a good proportion of iodine through a healthy diet. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more iodine than the average person. It is known that women in these groups have inadequate iodine levels. Since mandatory iodine fortification of bread commenced in Australia in 2009 there has been a reduction in iodine deficiency among pregnant women, however there still remains room for improvement (Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2016) ) Monitoring the health impacts of mandatory folic acid and iodine fortification.
Resources about Iodine supplementation