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J Thyroid Res. 2012;2012:798963. doi: 10.1155/2012/798963. Epub 2012 Nov 5.

Iodine Intake and Thyroid Function in Pregnant Women in a Private Clinical Practice in Northwestern Sydney before Mandatory Fortification of Bread with Iodised Salt.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Blacktown Hospital and Norwest Private Hospital, 9 Norbrik Drive, Bella Vista 2153, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



The primary objective of the study was to assess the iodine nutritional status, and its effect on thyroid function, of pregnant women in a private obstetrical practice in Sydney.


It was a cross-sectional study undertaken between November 2007 and March 2009. Blood samples were taken from 367 women at their first antenatal visit between 7 and 11 weeks gestation for measurement of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) levels and spot urine samples for urinary iodine excretion were taken at the same time as blood collection.


The median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) for all women was 81 μg/l (interquartile range 41-169 μg/l). 71.9% of the women exhibited a UIC of <150 μg/l. 26% of the women had a UIC <50 μg/l, and 12% had a UIC <20 μg/l. The only detectable influences on UIC were daily milk intake and pregnancy supplements. There was no statistically significant association between UIC and thyroid function and no evidence for an effect of iodine intake on thyroid function.


There is a high prevalence of mild to moderate iodine deficiency in women in Western Sydney but no evidence for a significant adverse effect on thyroid function. The 6.5% prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism is unlikely to be due to iodine deficiency.

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