Pregnant women are likely to suffer from iodine deficiency due to increased requirement for iodine and thyroid hormone during pregnancy. This health problem can be prevented by taking in additional iodine to maintain an optimum level of the micro-nutrient. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women can lead to mental retardation in infants and children; the deficiency is also the most common cause of goiter.
A recent cross-sectional study in Ghana has found that about 42.5% of pregnant women in the KEEA municipality suffer from iodine deficiency.
The ammonium per sulfate method was used to determine the level of iodine in spot urine samples of pregnant women on antenatal care at Kissi Health Centre, Central Region. The study authored by health scientists at the University of Cape Coast is reported in the Archives of Public Health journal.
“Of the 80 participants who were on iodized salt, only 16.2% had mild iodine deficiency with none suffering from moderate or severe iodine deficiency,” they write. “Of the 40 participants who did not use iodized salt, 35%, 30%, and 30% suffered from severe, moderate and mild iodine deficiency respectively.”
Overall, the findings of this study calls for dietary interventions to help pregnant women in rural areas to overcome the high prevalence of iodine deficiency.
Digital Reporter: Aaron Amankwaa