News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZ mums not getting message about iodine and folic acid


Monday 16 October 2017

Many NZ mums not getting message about boosting iodine and folic acid: Otago research

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health (MOH) rarely recommends using supplements, but does urge mothers to take in additional iodine and folic acid before and during pregnancy, and iodine when breastfeeding, to help avoid neurodevelopmental problems in their babies.

In the first study of its kind gauging how well the MOH’s advice in this area is followed, University of Otago researchers reveal barely more than one-third of the Kiwi mothers surveyed report adhering fully to these recommendations.

Women considering pregnancy, who are pregnant, or who are breastfeeding are recommended to take an iodine supplement each day containing 150mcg of this trace mineral. Iodine is important for optimal foetal and infant brain development, including their IQ later in life. The MOH also recommends that one folic acid tablet (0.8 mg) be taken daily for four weeks before conception through to 12 weeks after becoming pregnant, to help prevent neural tube defects in their babies.

Dr Andrew Reynolds, research fellow at Otago’s Department of Human Nutrition and lead author of the new study appearing in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, says he and colleagues earlier this year asked women from all over the country to tell them what supplements they were taking, and when.

“We heard from 535 women who were pregnant, or had been pregnant in the last two years. The responses revealed only 52 per cent of these women were following the iodine recommendation, and only 38 per cent of them followed both the iodine and the folic acid recommendation,” Dr Reynolds says.

So what does this mean? Associate Professor Sheila Skeaff, Dr Reynold’s colleague and co-author on the paper, says “although these data are from a survey that captures supplement use at one time point, we found the results very interesting”.

The paper found that the majority of women (80 per cent) were accessing their iodine with a prescription from a GP or midwife. “The Ministry of Health subsidises the cost of supplements through a prescription, so it was great to see New Zealand women knew about these prescriptions, and were using them,” Associate Professor Skeaff says.

However, the results of the survey suggest only low numbers of women met the Ministry’s supplementation recommendations.

“We need to make a bigger effort to promote these recommendations and increase access to iodine and folic acid supplements – we want communities to know about these nutrients, and why they are important,” Associate Professor Skeaff says.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis Review: Reclaiming The N-Word - Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman

Black resistance to institutional racism in the US has a long, tangled, and traumatic intellectual history. Although we may have assumed much too easily that white supremacists like David Duke had become marginalised as a political force, in reality they never really disappeared ... More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland