What is the Importance of Iodine in Pregnancy?
Iodine is an extremely important element required by the human body, especially when it comes to unborn children and females who are pregnant as Iodine is required for development of the baby's brain and nervous system. Iodine also regulates the baby's metabolism. Iodine also plays a crucial role in proper functioning of the thyroid gland and thus if there is iodine deficiency during pregnancy then it may lead to increased risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, or still birth.
Now, the question is how much iodine is actually required by the body during pregnancy. Studies recommend that about 200 micrograms a day of iodine is enough during pregnancy for delivery of a healthy child. In cases of females who are breast feeding then the consumption of iodine is more and hence the recommended amount of iodine for such females is around 300 micrograms a day.
It is not necessary that you measure the amount of iodine rich foods and eat it. The amount mentioned above is rather an average of the amount of iodine that should be consumed during pregnancy which ranges from a few days to a week.
What are the Food Sources of Iodine?
Dairy products, eggs, vegetables, seafood are some of the food items that are quite rich in iodine and may be sufficient and safe for you to consume during pregnancy to deliver a healthy baby. The best way to maintain adequate iodine levels in the body during pregnancy is to follow the diet plan mentioned below:
- Drinking a cup of milk can give you around 100 mcg of iodine
- Half a teaspoon of iodized salt can give you about 70 mcg of iodine
- One can also take a baked potato to get around 60 mcg of iodine
- One boiled egg can give you around 10-12 mcg of iodine
- One fish a day can give you approximately 30 mcg of iodine.
The maximum amount of iodine that one can consume safely during pregnancy is approximately 1000 mcg in a day. It is not necessary to take an iodine supplement during pregnancy as it is quite easy to meet the daily requirement of iodine in pregnancy with food only.
What are Some of the Signs or Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency?
It is quite uncommon for someone in the United States to have iodine deficiency especially during pregnancy as the food products available in the market are already rich in iodine and suffices for any deficiencies that may be there. In case if there is iodine deficiency in an individual the common symptoms or signs to look for are enlarged thyroid, fatigue, weakness, depression, and unintentional weight gain.
In case if you have a suspicion while being pregnant that you have iodine deficiency then it is recommended to consult with a physician to get yourself checked out to rule out this condition and if indeed you have iodine deficiency then adhering to an iodine rich diet will help a long way in getting rid of iodine deficiency during pregnancy and help you deliver a healthy baby.