Iodized oil during pregnancy

Safe use of iodized oil to prevent iodine deficiency in pregnant women

World Health Organization

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 15
Publication date: 1996
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/NUT/96.5



A statement by the World Health Organization
(Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1996 ; 74(1) : 1-3 and 101-108)

Since salt iodization is the optimal way of correcting iodine deficiency, it should continue to be the primary focus for preventing iodine deficiency disorders. Pending successful establishment of salt iodization in areas of moderate and severe iodine deficiency, administering periodic large doses of iodine as iodized oil to all women of childbearing age is an effective short-term public health approach that prevents goitre and iodine-related brain defects, including endemic cretinism, in children.

Responding to concerns about the safety of using iodized oil, the World Health Organization convened a group of experts to review and evaluate the results of programmes providing iodized oil to pregnant women. The group concluded that the available evidence conclusively demonstrates that iodized oil administered to women before, or at any time during, gestation has no harmful side-effect. The benefits to be gained in areas of moderate and severe iodine deficiency far outweigh risks. This statement and the accompanying review summarize the evidence in this regard.