Transient neonatal hypothyroidism due to a maternal vegan diet

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jan;16(1):111-3. doi: 10.1515/jpem.2003.16.1.111.


Iodine is an important constituent of thyroid hormones and deficiency can lead to a range of problems depending on the degree and at what stage of life the deficiency occurs. We report a 10 day-old infant with a goitre, who presented with raised TSH on dried blood spot screening. It was observed that her mother also had a goitre. The mother was a vegan and, on dietary assessment, her iodine intake was extremely low. Both mother and infant had abnormal thyroid function tests. Mother was given Lugol's iodine and her thyroid function tests normalised. Her baby was initially prescribed thyroxine on the basis of the raised screening TSH. This was subsequently withdrawn at the age of 2 weeks, following a normal plasma TSH. Thyroid function tests remained normal and the goitre disappeared by the age of 2 months. Iodine deficiency is uncommon in the Western World. However the incidence may be rising in otherwise iodine replete areas, particularly in those who adhere to restrictive and unusual diets. In the case of pregnant mothers their unborn child's health is in danger. This report demonstrates the need to ascertain maternal diets early in antenatal care, and supplement if necessary to avoid risk to their own health and that of their offspring.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Vegetarian / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Goiter / blood
  • Goiter / chemically induced
  • Goiter / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / blood
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hypothyroidism / etiology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / blood
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine