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Published: December 2010

Iodine tablets for healthy pregnant and breastfeeding women

Prescriber Update 31(4): 32
December 2010

The Ministry of Health has recently issued advice to healthy pregnant and breastfeeding women to supplement their dietary intake of iodine.

The Ministry recommends that healthy pregnant and breastfeeding women take a daily 150 mcg iodine-only tablet from confirmation of pregnancy until the discontinuation of breastfeeding. This tablet should be taken in addition to eating well and choosing iodine-containing foods such as low-fat milk products, eggs, seafood, and commercially prepared bread.1,2

A brand of iodine tablets that is currently available in New Zealand is NeuroKare, made by Alaron in Nelson. Supplementation with an iodine tablet such as NeuroKare is recommended because it is difficult for pregnant or breastfeeding women to meet their increased requirements for iodine. Iodine is essential for the development of the brain and nervous system before birth, in babies, and in young children.

The Ministry's recommendations do not apply to women with pre-existing thyroid disease who should be individually managed to ensure normal thyroid function during pregnancy. Women who report high iodine intakes should have their iodine status assessed before further supplementing with an iodine tablet.

More information about the Ministry of Health's iodine recommendation is available at: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/nutrition-iodine

A free health education leaflet, Folic Acid and Iodine, can be ordered for patients at: http://www.healthed.govt.nz/resources/search-resources.aspx?q=iodine

Acknowledgement: Thank you to Barbara Hegan, Ministry of Health for contributing to this article

References
  1. Ministry of Health. 2006. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women: A background paper.
  2. See latest advice on food safety on the New Zealand Food Safety Authority's website at http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz