Iodine deficiency during pregnancy lowers children’s IQ scores
If you've been following this blog or any pregnancy news source, you probably already know that getting enough iodine during pregnancy is crucial for babies' healthy development. However, you might not have guessed how significantly not getting enough iodine in the womb can suppress children's cognitive abilities.
One of the most highly cited studies in this area was conducted in the U.K. in 2013. Researchers from Bristol and Surrey Universities analyzed data on 1,040 pregnant women whose iodine levels were measured using urine samples during their first and third trimesters. They found that children of mothers who were iodine-deficient during pregnancy scored an average of six points lower on IQ tests than children of mothers who got enough iodine. Children born to iodine-deficient mothers had a 60 percent chance of falling into the lowest quartile of IQ scores in the study, and they still had poor reading comprehension and accuracy at 9 years old.
This wouldn't be such a large cause for concern if iodine deficiency were rare, but it turned out to be more common than the researchers predicted. Two-thirds of the women studied had either mild or serious iodine deficiencies during pregnancy.
Professor Jean Golding, who led the study that the data originated from, told the Independent, "If iodine deficiency were rare I would not be so worried. But it is not rare. This may prevent a child reaching their full potential."
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