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Could My Miscarriage Have Been Caused by Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy?

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Updated March 11, 2010

Question: Could My Miscarriage Have Been Caused by Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy?

Is it possible for iodine deficiency in pregnancy to cause a miscarriage?

Answer:

It is true that past research has tied iodine deficiency during pregnancy to an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as birth defects and developmental problems in babies born to iodine-deficient mothers.

But iodine deficiency is considered rare in the U.S. Most moms in the U.S. get adequate iodine from their diets, as iodine is routinely added to salt. Iodine is included as an ingredient in most prenatal vitamins. If you live in the U.S., iodine deficiency is not likely to have been a cause of your miscarriage.

If you don't live in the U.S., talk to your doctor to find out whether iodine deficiency is common in the country you live in. Your doctor can advise you on whether it might be worthwhile to look into iodine supplements during pregnancy.

Be aware also that you should not take iodine supplements beyond what is included in your diet and/or your prenatal vitamins unless a doctor has told you that you should do so. Excess iodine can disrupt thyroid function, which in some people may cause hyperthyroidism. In others (especially those with an existing thyroid condition), it may exacerbate hypothyroidism, a condition that may be tied to miscarriage.

Sources:

Iodine. The Merck Manuals. Accessed: Mar. 6, 2010. http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec12/ch155/ch155f.html

Iodine Deficiency. American Thyroid Association. Accessed: Mar. 6, 2010. http://www.thyroid.org/patients/patient_brochures/iodine_deficiency.html

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