What Are The Dangers Of Iodine Deficiency During Pregnancy?

Indeed, the importance of nutrition in pregnancy cannot be undermined. During the first nine months of a person's life he or she gets all the nutrition from the mother's body. Needless to say, it is the nutrition that a person gets during this stage that has a major say in his or her health later on in life. In such a situation, it is all the way more important for a pregnant woman to have nutritional food.

While the definition of nutritional food would include that of a balanced diet, there are certain specific components of the balanced diet that a pregnant woman will have to consume more than that of her non pregnant counterparts. An example in this regard will be that of iodine. While a non pregnant woman requires a daily dose of 150 mcg of iodine, a pregnant woman will require 220 mcg on a daily basis.

dangers of iodine deficiency during pregnancy

In the case of women who are breastfeeding, the value goes up all the way up to 290 mcg per day. In case, a pregnant woman is finding it difficult to meet these requirements on a daily basis, she can strive to opt for meeting the weekly average of the same.

  • How Is Iodine Important?
  • What Causes Iodine Deficiency In Pregnant Women?
  • Consequences Of Iodine Deficiency

     1. Cretinism
     2. Growth retardation
     3. Neonatal hypothyroidism
     4. Goiter
     5. Miscarriage

How Is Iodine Important?

Since the food that you consume directly dictates the nature of your baby's growth, it is important for you to realize that the presence of iodine in your diet (in adequate quantities) is pivotal to your child's brain and nervous system development.

The rate at which your body utilities its energy (or rather its rate of metabolism) is something that will be determined by the iodine consumption by the mother during pregnancy. For the pregnant woman, the absence or shortage of iodine in the diet results in the thyroid gland not being regulated.

This in turn paves the way for a number of unwanted consequences that have been discussed in the next section. Thus, in order to foster a healthy life for your unborn child, it is your duty to ensure that there is sufficient iodine in your diet.

What Causes Iodine Deficiency In Pregnant Women?

There are a number of symptoms that can be directly linked to iodine deficiency in pregnant women. These may range from that of dry and flaky skin to feeling excessive cold. Low iodine levels also affect the rate of metabolism of a pregnant woman and might cause her to feel more exhausted than her normal self.

The reason for the same may be attributed to the fact that during pregnancy a woman has to increase her iodine intake by a significant amount. Many women fail to make the necessary dietary amendments and as a result suffer from iodine deficiency, thereby putting the life and health of their unborn child at risk.

Consequences Of Iodine Deficiency

The lack of iodine consumption will not just affect you but will have very serious consequences on your unborn child. While in some cases it might mean a lifelong damage or retardness, in the extreme cases, it might also lead to death in the womb. Read on to learn more about the consequences of iodine deficiency during pregnancy.

1. Cretinism

This is one of the most severe effects of iodine deficiency and is one of the most difficult conditions to treat. What happens here is that because of the shortage of iodine in the mother's body, the brain development of the child is severely impaired. As a result of this, he or she may suffer from lifelong mental retardation which may or may not be curable in nature.

2. Growth retardation

During pregnancy and in the first few years of life, there are certain milestones that are expected to occur at certain points in time. As for example, a child is expected to learn how to speak the first words at a particular age, walk his or her first steps at some other and so on. All of these milestones are achievable only due to the brain actions of the little one.

If there is impairment of the brain growth due to iodine deficiency in the womb, it is obvious that all of it will be affected. This will lead to growth retardation and slower development (as compared to other children of his or her age) for your baby.

3. Neonatal hypothyroidism

This condition is also known as congenital hypothyroidism and takes places due to inadequate production of thyroid in newborn infants. Although this can be due to an inborn error of thyroid metabolism or an anatomic defect in the gland, the most common cause of this is iodine deficiency during pregnancy.

4. Goiter

Goiter that is present in newborn babies is also known as primary hypothyroidism and is extremely rare. However, this condition is very dangerous and consequences of the same are noted in the child's immediate postnatal life.

The only treatment for this is hormone replacement therapy which is not just difficult on your little one but also tight on your pocket. Hence, the best way to deal with this is to avoid its very occurrence by ensuring that the mother consumes sufficient iodine during her pregnancy.

5. Miscarriage

This is perhaps one of the worst things that can happen to a pregnant woman. In the extreme case of iodine deficiency, the foetus may not be able to make its way to delivery and there might be a spontaneous loss of a woman's pregnancy. Needless to say, such a thing is taxing on the pregnant woman both at a physical as well as emotional level.

Having understood the gravity of the situation and the impact that the lack of iodine consumption can have on your unborn child, by now you must have realized the importance of making the necessary changes to your diet.

In case you have any doubts regarding this, do not hesitate to bring the same to the notice of your doctor. After all, it is these small lifestyle changes on your part that will give your unborn child the gift of a long and healthy life ahead.

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    Read more about: iodine pregnancy
    Story first published: Thursday, August 23, 2018, 14:45 [IST]
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