Earliest prevention of endemic goiter by iodine supplementation during pregnancy

Klaus Peter Liesenkötter*, Wolfgang Göpel, Ulrich Bogner, Barbara Stach, Annette Grüters

*Corresponding author for this work
100 Citations (Scopus)


During pregnancy complex changes of maternal thyroid function occur and they are influenced by the maternal iodine supply. It has been demonstrated that with decreasing iodine supply maternal goiter and hypothyroxinemia as well as fetal and neonatal hypothyroidism become more prevalent. Therefore iodine supplementation during pregnancy is now strongly recommended also in areas of moderate iodine deficiency. To monitor the success of iodine supplementation and its theoretical risk of increasing the frequency of thyroid autoantibodies, we have investigated the thyroid volume, thyroid function, urinary iodine excretion and antibodies to thyroid peroxidase at 10-12 weeks of gestation and postpartum in 38 mothers receiving 300μg potassium iodide/day and in 70 mothers without iodine supplementation. In all of their newborns thyroid volume was determined by ultrasound. The thyrotropin (TSH) levels and antibodies to thyroid peroxidase (TPO-ab) in the neonates were measured in dried blood spots on filter paper from their newborn screening. Urinary iodine excretion was increased significantly after iodine supplementation in mothers (p < 0.001) and their newborns (<0.05). No hypo- or hyperthyroidism was observed in the mothers or newborns. Interestingly, no difference of maternal thyroid volumes was observed between the two groups after pregnancy, but the volumes of the thyroid glands in newborns of mothers who received iodine were significantly (p < 0.004) lower (0.7 ± 0.4ml) than in the control group (1.5 ± 1.1 ml). There was no change in the frequency of TPO-ab in either group after pregnancy. In four mothers transplacental passage of these antibodies was documented by positive measurement in the blood sample of the newborn. This study documents that iodine supplementation during pregnancy in an area of moderate iodine deficiency results in a lower size of neonatal thyroid volume and that this supplementation was not accompanied by an increase in the frequency of TPO-ab.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)443-448
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 04.1996

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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