You probably know that pregnant women are encouraged to take additional vitamins and minerals for the sake of their baby’s development. Folic acid, calcium, and iron have long been considered the holy trinity of prenatal wellness. But here’s one you may not be so familiar with: iodine.
Iodine is Necessary for Good Health
Though its health benefits have long been known, new research is now indicating that iodine deficiency in pregnant women can have significant negative effects on unborn children’s brain development.
Iodine is an important mineral necessary for making thyroid hormones — the hormones that regulate growth and development. According to the National Institutes of Health, thyroid hormones, and thus iodine, are also necessary for adequate bone and brain development from pregnancy through infancy. 
New Findings Suggest Many Pregnant Women Are Deficient
According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), approximately one third of pregnant women are at least mildly deficient in iodine.  This deficiency can be dangerous to the unborn baby and could negatively affect the child’s metabolism, leading to impairments in his or her motor skill and cognitive functions and, sometimes, irreversible mental damage. According to the journal Nutrients, “Iodine deficiency can be defined as the world’s greatest single cause of preventable brain damage.” 
The Rise of Supplements
Inspired by the findings of this study, news sources that have historically discouraged supplement use, such as Reuters and AAP’s own Pediatrics journal, are now encouraging pregnant and nursing women to take iodine supplements.  They suggest that pregnant and nursing women ingest at least 290 micrograms of iodine each day.
Pediatricians maintain that women should only use supplements in addition to, not as replacements for, an iodine-rich diet. AAP still recommends that pregnant and nursing women ingest iodine naturally as much as possible. However, the primary sources of dietary iodine — dairy, seafood, and iodized salt — may not be appropriate for everyone, including vegans and those who wish to avoid hormone additives, toxic metals, and other chemicals found in those food sources; making supplemental iodine even more important.
By simply adding nascent iodine, the best form of supplemental iodine, to their prenatal care routines, pregnant women will have one less nutritional need to worry about. Be aware that, like everything, there is an upper limit to how much iodine you should consume and no point in consuming more than your body needs. 
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