Maternal iodine deficiency: a newborns’ overweight risk factor? A prospective study

Yaniv S. Ovadia*, Shmuel Zangen, Shani R. Rosen, Dov Gefel, Shlomo Almashanu, Carlos Benbassat, Shlomo Fytlovich, Dorit Aharoni, Eyal Y. Anteby, Simon Shenhav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Childhood obesity and iodine deficiency are global public health concerns. Whether maternal iodine status mediates overweight in infancy has yet to be explored. We aimed to assess the relationship between maternal iodine status and infant birth weight, including small and large for gestational age (SGA and LGA, respectively). Methods: A prospective study was carried out among 134 mother–infant pairs from Israel. Maternal iodine intake and status were estimated via questionnaire and serum thyroglobulin (Tg), respectively. Estimated iodine intake below the Recommended Daily Allowance for iodine sufficiency in pregnancy (220 μg/d) considered Inadequate. Maternal and neonatal thyroid function and anthropometric measurements, as well as maternal thyroid antibodies were also tested. Results: After screening, 118 participants met the inclusion criteria (distributed trimesters I, II and III: n = 3, n = 21, and n = 94, respectively). There was a negative association of iodine intake with Tg values among the study population. Maternal median Tg value was higher than the sufficiency cutoff (16.5 vs 13 µg/L), indicating insufficient iodine status. No SGA cases were found. Inadequate iodine intake was associated with maternal isolated hypothyroxinemia (OR = 3.4; 95% CI 1.2, 9.9) and higher birthweight (including macrosomia and LGA) rates. A suggestive association of elevated Tg with a greater risk of LGA was observed. Offsprings' birth weight percentiles were associated with Tg values in pregnant women with suggestive sufficient iodine status (n = 62, R2 = 0.11, p < 0.05). Conclusions: Iodine status during pregnancy can be associated with newborn anthropometric index. Maternal inadequate iodine intake may alter fetal growth and might increase the risk of LGA among newborns. These initial findings support the need to further study the impact of iodine deficiency on newborns overweight in Israel and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-787
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


FundersFunder number
BUMCA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Haifa


    • Birth weight
    • Isolated hypothyroxinemia
    • Large for gestational age
    • Maternal iodine intake
    • Thyroglobulin


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