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Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you don’t have an iodine deficiency.


According to a study by America’s National Institute of Health, an iodine deficiency is likely to reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. This study, which is the first to investigate the effects of mild to moderate iodine deficiency on women’s ability to become pregnant, was published in the latest edition of Human Reproduction.

How much iodine do you need to consume per day?

Iodine, in a nutshell, is a mineral used by the body to regulate metabolism. Whilst the average person should consume 150 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per day, women who are pregnant or nursing require 300 micrograms instead. What does iodine have to do with pregnancy? According to researcher James L. Mills, M.D., foetuses depend on iodine to produce thyroid hormones, and to ensure normal brain development.

How do you know if you have an iodine deficiency?

Consuming too little iodine is actually a pretty common problem, with up to a third of people worldwide being at risk of an iodine deficiency. Those who live in countries where there is very little iodine in the soil (countries within South Asia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Europe) are particularly susceptible, as are vegetarians or vegans.


Symptoms of an iodine deficiency include swelling in the neck, unexpected weight gain, fatigue and weakness, hair loss, dry and flaky skin, feeling cold, and heavy or irregular periods. If you suspect that you have an iodine deficiency (regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not), pay a visit to your doctor and get it checked out!

What happens when you have an iodine deficiency?

For women who are attempting to get pregnant: results from the study by National Institute of Health show that women who have a moderate to severe iodine deficiency are 46% less likely to become pregnant during each menstrual cycle (as compared to women with sufficient iodine). Whilst women in the mildly deficient range also showed an increase in the time taken to conceive, the effect was statistically insignificant.

For women who are already pregnant, iodine deficiencies may result in stunted growth and brain development for their foetuses. That’s not all – the same it also increases the chances of pregnant women having stillbirths.

What foods are rich in iodine?


Thankfully, there are plenty of iodine-rich foods that you may supplement your diet with. Just one tablespoon of kelp, for example, will give you a whopping 2000mcg of iodine. Don’t quite fancy the taste of sea vegetables? Fruits will also do the trick – consume 120g of cranberries, and you’ll get 400mcg of iodine.

Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka

If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!

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