e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Iodine supplementation during pregnancy

Pregnant women need about 66% more iodine than non-pregnant women. This nutrient is essential for healthy brain development in the fetus and young child.

Most foods are relatively low in iodine content. To ensure that everyone has a sufficient intake of iodine, WHO and UNICEF recommend universal salt iodization as a global strategy. However, in certain countries salt iodization may not be feasible in all regions.

WHO and UNICEF recommend iodine supplementation for pregnant and lactating women in countries where less than 20% of households have access to iodized salt, until the salt iodization programme is scaled up. Countries with a household access to iodized salt between 20 and 90% should make efforts to accelerate salt iodization or assess the feasibility of increasing iodine intake in the form of a supplement or iodine fortified foods by the most susceptible groups.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available

Other guidance documents


Related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

25 March 2014 13:29 CET

Category 2 intervention

Systematic review(s) have been conducted but no recent guidelines yet available that have been approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee