Pregnant women with iron deficiencies 'risk thyroid-related complications'

25 July 2016

Pregnant women whose iron levels are low may be more at risk of experiencing thyroid-related pregnancy complications, according to a new study.

Conducted by Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels, the research followed 1,900 pregnant women in their first trimester, discovering that 35 per cent of the women were iron-deficient.

Moreover, ten per cent of the women in the iron-deficient group suffered from thyroid autoimmunity, compared to six per cent in the non-deficient group, while 20 per cent of iron-deficient women had subclinical hypothyroidism, higher than the 16 per cent rate of those with healthy iron levels.

Thyroid hormone production among mothers is vital for the full development of babies' brains, particularly during the first semester, when the foetus has not yet developed a thyroid gland of its own.

Iron deficiency affects one in five of the world's population, but is known to be more prevalent in pregnant women, as they require triple the daily amount to make more red blood cells to help the foetus and placenta grow.

Dr Kris Poppe, lead author of the study and head of the endocrine clinic at Saint-Pierre University Hospital, said: "Iron supplements should be given out to decrease a number of established pregnancy complications, but it needs to be proven whether they can decrease thyroid problems too."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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