Iodine status of pregnant Haitian-American women
Segal, Amanda Rachel
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Iodine is an essential element for the production of thyroid hormone, which is required for fetal cognitive development during pregnancy. Changes in maternal metabolism and physiology increase iodine requirements, and even mild iodine deficiency may lead to adverse effects on fetal neurodevelopment. While overall iodine intake in the United States is considered to be sufficient, there have been recent concerns about mild deficiency among women of childbearing years. Potentially exacerbating this issue amongst Haitian-American women is the known occurrence of iodine deficiency in Haiti. Attempts to supplement iodized salt by UNICEF have been unsuccessful due to Haiti's current political climate. Haitian immigrant women living in the United States may be at particular risk for iodine deficiency during pregnancy due to their unique dietary patterns. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 21 pregnant Haitian women living in the Boston area in order to determine if they are ingesting adequate dietary iodine. Our subjects included women with singleton pregnancies, who were not taking any thyroid hormone or anti-thyroid medication, and who were recruited at the Antenatal Clinic at Boston Medical Center. We obtained spot urine iodine concentrations, as well as information pertaining to iodine-containing prenatal vitamin use. To date, this has been the only such study carried out in this particularly vulnerable ethnic group and this study provides information of public health importance.