Maternal iodine (I) status is critical in embryonic and foetal development. We examined the effect of preconception iodine supplementation on maternal iodine status and on birth outcomes. Non-pregnant women in Guatemala, India and Pakistan (n ~ 100 per arm per site) were randomized ≥ 3 months prior to conception to one of three intervention arms: a multimicronutrient-fortified lipid-based nutrient supplement containing 250-μg I per day started immediately after randomization (Arm 1), the same supplement started at ~12 weeks gestation (Arm 2) and no intervention supplement (Arm 3). Urinary I (μg/L) to creatinine (mg/dl) ratios (I/Cr) were determined at 12 weeks for Arm 1 versus Arm 2 (before supplement started) and 34 weeks for all arms. Generalized linear models were used to assess the relationship of I/Cr with arm and with newborn anthropometry. At 12 weeks gestation, adjusted mean I/Cr (μg/g) for all sites combined was significantly higher for Arm 1 versus Arm 2: (203 [95% CI: 189, 217] vs. 163 [95% CI: 152, 175], p < 0.0001). Overall adjusted prevalence of I/Cr < 150 μg/g was also lower in Arm 1 versus Arm 2: 32% (95% CI: 26%, 38%) versus 43% (95% CI: 37%, 49%) (p = 0.0052). At 34 weeks, adjusted mean I/Cr for Arm 1 (235, 95% CI: 220, 252) and Arm 2 (254, 95% CI: 238, 272) did not differ significantly but were significantly higher than Arm 3 (200, 95% CI: 184, 218) (p < 0.0001). Nominally significant positive associations were observed between I/Cr at 12 weeks and birth length and head circumference z-scores (p = 0.028 and p = 0.005, respectively). These findings support the importance of first trimester iodine status and suggest need for preconception supplementation beyond salt iodization alone.
- birth length
- iodine supplementation
- salt iodization
- small-quantity lipid-based nutrient supplement (SQ-LNS)
- urinary iodine concentration (UIC)