Can Mild-to-Moderate Iodine Deficiency during Pregnancy Alter Thyroid Function? Lessons from a Mother–Newborn Cohort

Simon Shenhav, Carlos Benbassat, Dov Gefel, Shmuel Zangen, Shani R. Rosen, Yael Avrahami-Benyounes, Shlomo Almashanu, Ludmila Groisman, Efrat Rorman, Shlomo Fytlovich, Eyal Y. Anteby, Yaniv S. Ovadia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy has substantial hormonal consequences, such as fetal brain damage. Data on the potential effects of mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency on the thyroid function of pregnant women and their newborns are scarce and divergent. We investigated the association between iodine intake in pregnancy and maternal and neonatal thyroid function in a region with mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency. Pregnant women’s iodine status was evaluated using an iodine food frequency questionnaire, serum thyroglobulin (Tg), and urinary iodine concentration (UIC). Neonatal thyrotropin (nTSH) values were measured after birth. Obstetrics and anthropometric data were also collected. Among the 178 women (median age 31 years) included in the study, median (interquartile range) estimated dietary iodine intake, Tg and UIC were 179 (94–268) μg/day, 18 (11–33) μg/L, and 60 (41–95) μg/L, respectively. There was a significant inverse association of iodine intake with Tg values among the study population (β = −0.2, F = 7.5, p < 0.01). Women with high free triiodothyronine (FT3) values were more likely to exhibit an estimated iodine intake below the estimated average requirement (160 μg/day, odds ratio [OR] = 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–6.4; p = 0.04) and less likely to consume iodine-containing supplements (OR = 0.3, 95% CI, 0.1–0.8; p = 0.01). It is possible that thyroid function may be affected by iodine insufficiency during pregnancy in regions with mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency. The relatively small sample size of the studied population warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5336
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • free triiodothyronine
  • iodine insufficiency
  • maternal dietary iodine intake
  • neonatal thyrotropin
  • thyroglobulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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