Background: Iodine deficiency is a major public-health problem throughout the world, especially for pregnant women, and it is considered the most common cause of preventable intellectual impairment. In the United States, iodine status in pregnant women is considered mildly deficient. Therefore, the Endocrine Society, the American Thyroid Association, the Teratology Society, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that women receive prenatal vitamins containing 150 μg of iodine daily during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. The objectives of this study were to evaluate awareness of iodine nutrition among obstetricians and midwives in the United States, and to document current clinical practice regarding recommendations for iodine supplementation for women during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. Methods: All midwife members of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and all obstetrician members of the American Medical Association (AMA) were invited to participate in a web-based survey. Results: A total of 199 midwives and 277 obstetricians participated in the survey. One third of both obstetricians and midwives considered iodine status in U.S. pregnant women to be deficient. Although almost all obstetricians and midwives would recommend prenatal multivitamins, most reported rarely or never recommending iodine-containing multivitamins for women planning pregnancy (68.7% and 70.2%, respectively), pregnant women (66% and 67.1%), or lactating women (68.7% and 71.7%). Of the respondents who did report prescribing iodine-containing supplements, 85% recommended supplementation during the first trimester and 75-80% during the second and third trimesters. However, of those who did recommend iodine supplementation, only 45% would prescribe the recommended 150 μg of iodine daily during pregnancy. Overall, 75% of U.S. obstetricians and midwives do not recommend or would recommend an inadequate amount of iodine during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. Conclusions: Despite the important consequences of iodine deficiency for pregnant women and the recommendations of many medical societies, the majority of U.S. obstetricians and midwives who participated in this survey do not recommend iodine-containing vitamins in women planning pregnancy, during pregnancy, and during lactation.
- Iodine deficiency
- iodine supplementation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism