Urine measurements using mass spectrometry revealed higher concentrations of iodine in women with a migration background – regardless of the week of pregnancy and the presence of gestational diabetes. The most extreme form of iodine deficiency presents itself in the form of a condition known as cretinism, which includes metabolic changes, deformities of the skeleton and underactivity of the thyroid gland.
“According to the WHO, every pregnant woman should take around 250 micrograms of iodine a day, and this should be continued until she stops breast feeding,” say the study authors. Iodine, which is primarily consumed via table salt, tends to be viewed negatively in some cases by the general population. Doctors also recommend reducing salt intake generally. “Before, during and after pregnancy, however, iodine is extremely important for embryonic brain development. Even a mild iodine deficiency can impair the child’s intellectual development; recent studies in the UK and Australia have shown that IQs are in fact reduced by a few points.”