Iodine: important for pregnant women and children

Iodine: important for pregnant women and children

Because carbohydrates are seen as fatteners, many people leave bread out of their diet. Bread is the main source of iodine for our body. The omission of bread is therefore not without risks, especially for pregnant women and children.

Iodine is an important building block for thyroid hormone. An iodine deficiency leads to a deficiency of thyroid hormone. This hormone is indispensable for healthy growth, the development of the nervous system (such as the brain) and the maintenance of the metabolism.

Children and pregnant women
In children, iodine deficiency can lead to growth retardation and reduced learning ability. In pregnant women, iodine deficiency causes problems in the brain development of the unborn child. Iodine level is tested just after birth via the heel-prick test. If there is too little thyroid hormone, then a good treatment with medication is possible. In the first half of the pregnancy, however, children are completely dependent on thyroid hormone hormone. Children of mothers with a deficiency of thyroid hormone during pregnancy remain, in terms of IQ, an average of 7 points behind children of mothers with normal thyroid gland function.

Sources of iodine

  • Bread is the most important source of iodine: it provides half of our needs on average. That is because in the West most bakers use iodized salt when making the bread. Organic bread is usually baked with plain salt. In the USA it is also legal to add iodine to bread substitutes such as biscuits, crackers, breakfast drinks and gingerbread - although this isn't done very often.
  • Sea fish is also an important source of iodine, as are seaweed and brown kelp. There are kelp and seaweed supplements for sale but these often contain very high doses of iodine and are therefore unwise to use.

Other sources in which a small amount of iodine is present include milk, vegetables, eggs and cheese.

For more information speak to your midwife.

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