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Iodine and Pregnancy—A Qualitative Study Focusing on Dietary Guidance and Information

Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, 10–16 Alexandra Parade, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 408;
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Iodine and Health throughout the Lifecourse)
Iodine is essential for thyroid hormones synthesis and normal neurodevelopment; however, ~60% of pregnant women do not meet the WHO (World Health Organization) recommended intake. Using a qualitative design, we explored the perceptions, awareness, and experiences of pregnancy nutrition, focusing on iodine. Women in the perinatal period (n = 48) were interviewed and filled in a food frequency questionnaire for iodine. Almost all participants achieved the recommended 150 μg/day intake for non-pregnant adults (99%), but only 81% met the increased demands of pregnancy (250 μg/day). Most were unaware of the importance, sources of iodine, and recommendations for iodine intake. Attitudes toward dairy products consumption were positive (e.g., helps with heartburn; easy to increase). Increased fish consumption was considered less achievable, with barriers around taste, smell, heartburn, and morning sickness. Community midwives were the main recognised provider of dietary advice. The dietary advice received focused most often on multivitamin supplements rather than food sources. Analysis highlighted a clear theme of commitment to change behaviour, motivated by pregnancy, with a desired focus on user-friendly documentation and continued involvement of the health services. The study highlights the importance of redirecting advice on dietary requirements in pregnancy and offers practical suggestions from women in the perinatal period as the main stakeholder group. View Full-Text
Keywords: iodine; pregnancy; qualitative research; awareness; perceptions; nutrition iodine; pregnancy; qualitative research; awareness; perceptions; nutrition
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Bouga, M.; Lean, M.E.J.; Combet, E. Iodine and Pregnancy—A Qualitative Study Focusing on Dietary Guidance and Information. Nutrients 2018, 10, 408.

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