During your pregnancy, you want to get all of the nutrition your body needs as well as the nutrition your baby’s body needs to grow and develop. In the modern era, this is sometimes a challenge. Packaged foods are often nutrient-deficient, and even some produce that’s genetically enhanced may have fewer nutrients than organic produce. According to some new research on pregnancy nutrition, an alarming number of pregnant women are iodine deficient.
The research, published just last week in the Journal of the American Medical association indicates that an ever-increasing number of pregnant women in the United States have iodine deficiencies. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause you to have low levels of thyroid hormones, and can even cause certain brain disorders in your baby.
Why we’re not getting enough iodine
Part of the problem is that iodine isn’t a chemical that the body produces on its own. Any iodine you get has to come from an outside source. Common nutritional sources of iodine include dairy products, seafood and bread.
One of the recommendations to come out of this research is that potassium iodine be included in prenatal vitamins. Potassium iodine is 76% iodine, and nutritionists believe it to be the most stable way for a person to get enough iodine. Today, only about 20% of all prenatal vitamins on the market contain potassium iodine.
What can you do?
One of the first things you can and should do is make sure you’re getting enough dairy products, seafood and bread in your diet. Watch out, of course, for seafood commonly high in mercury. That includes tilefish, swordfish, ahi or bigeye tuna, orange roughy, marlin and shark. Whitefish, catfish, flounder, herring, perch, salmon, shrimp, tilapia and trout are all considered safer, and you can have up to two 6 oz. servings each week.
You should also talk to your doctor about a possible iodine deficiency. Some simple labwork will tell you where you stand, and whether you should consider switching to a prenatal vitamin that contains potassium iodine.