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Eur Thyroid J. 2016 Mar;5(1):35-43. doi: 10.1159/000444254. Epub 2016 Mar 1.

Iodine Supplementation in Pregnancy and the Dilemma of Ambiguous Recommendations.

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Departments of Endocrinology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark; Departments of Clinical Biochemistry, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.
Departments of Endocrinology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark; Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.


Iodine requirements are increased during pregnancy, predominantly caused by an increase in renal iodide clearance and in the use of iodine for thyroid hormone production. Because iodine deficiency (ID) in pregnancy may be associated with neurodevelopmental deficits in the offspring, a pertinent question is at what level of iodine intake pregnant women should be advised to take iodine-containing supplements. The consensus reached by the WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD in 2007 was that pregnant women should not be recommended to take iodine-containing supplements if the population in general had been iodine sufficient for at least 2 years. However, guidance on this differs between scientific societies. This review discusses iodine supplementation in pregnancy. Based on current evidence, the recommendations given by WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD in 2007 provide a valid guidance on the use of iodine supplements in pregnant women. Women living in a population with a median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) at or above 100 µg/l are not in need of iodine supplementation in pregnancy. On the other hand, if the population median UIC is below 100 µg/l, pregnant women should take iodine-containing supplements until the population in general has been iodine sufficient for at least 2 years by way of universal salt iodization.


Iodine supplement; Pregnancy; Thyroid; Urinary iodine concentration

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