Context: Although the consequences of severe iodine deficiency are beyond doubt, the effects of mild to moderate iodine deficiency in pregnancy on child neurodevelopment are less well established.
Objective: To study the association between maternal iodine status during pregnancy and child IQ and identify vulnerable time windows of exposure to suboptimal iodine availability.
Design: Meta-analysis of individual participant data from three prospective population-based birth cohorts: Generation R (Netherlands), INMA (Spain), and ALSPAC (United Kingdom); pregnant women were enrolled between 2002 and 2006, 2003 and 2008, and 1990 and 1992, respectively.
Setting: General community.
Participants: 6180 mother-child pairs with measures of urinary iodine and creatinine concentrations in pregnancy and child IQ. Exclusion criteria were multiple pregnancies, fertility treatment, medication affecting the thyroid, and preexisting thyroid disease.
Main outcome measure: Child nonverbal and verbal IQ assessed at 1.5 to 8 years of age.
Results: There was a positive curvilinear association of urinary iodine/creatinine ratio (UI/Creat) with mean verbal IQ only. UI/Creat <150 µg/g was not associated with lower nonverbal IQ (-0.6 point; 95% CI: -1.7 to 0.4 points; P = 0.246) or lower verbal IQ (-0.6 point; 95% CI: -1.3 to 0.1 points; P = 0.082). Stratified analyses showed that the association of UI/Creat with verbal IQ was only present up to 14 weeks of gestation.
Conclusions: Fetal brain development is vulnerable to mild to moderate iodine deficiency, particularly in the first trimester. Our results show that potential randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of iodine supplementation in women with mild to moderate iodine deficiency on child neurodevelopment should begin supplementation not later than the first trimester.
Copyright © 2019 Endocrine Society.