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 therefore 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.
Status: not currently available
Other guidance documents
Statement: Reaching optimal iodine nutrition in pregnant and lactating women and young children: a joint statement by WHO and UNICEF
Related systematic reviews
Evaluating iodine deficiency in pregnant women and young infants—complex physiology with a risk of misinterpretation
Iodine requirements during pregnancy, lactation and the neonatal period and indicators of optimal iodine nutrition
The impact of iodised salt or iodine supplements on iodine status during pregnancy, lactation and infancy