A review of current knowledge about the importance of iodine among women of child-bearing age and healthcare professionals

Lucy Kayes, Karen R Mullan, Jayne V Woodside

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Abstract

Iodine is required for thyroid hormone synthesis and fetal neurogenesis. Recent population studies in the United Kingdom (UK) have found iodine deficiency among schoolgirls, women of child-bearing age and pregnant women. This review explores knowledge and awareness of iodine among women of child-bearing age and healthcare professionals (HCPs) in the UK, set within a global context. We aimed to identify gaps in iodine knowledge in the current UK setting of iodine deficiency without iodine fortification and where iodine is not included in antenatal guidelines. The search terms 'iodine knowledge' and 'iodine awareness' were used to identify relevant papers. Iodine knowledge is poor among women of child-bearing age in the UK according to four studies using questionnaires and qualitative methods. They were unsure of dietary sources of iodine and were not consistently provided with relevant information from HCPs during clinical care. Midwives have been recognised as the main providers of dietary information during pregnancy and, although they recognised the importance of their role in providing nutrition advice, they did not feel equipped to do so and lacked confidence in addressing nutritional concerns. Globally, there was a similar lack of knowledge, however, this was somewhat improved by the inclusion of iodine in antenatal care guidelines. Midwives' knowledge of iodine was poor, as was knowledge among women of child-bearing age. Improved HCP knowledge and effective communication of information to pregnant women and women planning to conceive may help to improve iodine status which is of particular concern in pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere56
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Volume11
Early online date08 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Prenatal Care - methods
  • Awareness
  • Diet
  • Pregnant Women
  • Iodine
  • Humans
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Knowledge
  • Pregnancy
  • Female

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