Objective: Emerging evidence suggests that essential trace elements, including iodine, play a vital role in depressive disorders. This study investigated whether prenatal dietary iodine intake alone and in combination with supplemental iodine intake during pregnancy were associated with antepartum and postpartum depressive and anhedonia symptoms. Methods: The study population included 837 mothers in the PRogramming of Intergenerational Stress Mechanisms (PRISM) study. The modified BLOCK food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate prenatal dietary and supplemental iodine intake, while the 10-item Edinburg Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) ascertained depressive symptoms. Analyses considered the global EPDS score and the anhedonia and depressive symptom subscale scores using dichotomized cutoffs. Logistic regression estimating odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) assessed associations of iodine intake in the second trimester of pregnancy and 6-month postpartum depressive and anhedonia symptoms considering dietary intake alone and combined dietary and supplementary intake in separate models. Results: Most women were Black/Hispanic Black (43%) and non-Black Hispanics (35%), with 39% reporting a high school education or less. The median (interquartile range, IQR) dietary and supplemental iodine intake among Black/Hispanic Black (198 (115, 337) µg/day) and non-Black Hispanic women (195 (126, 323) µg/day) was higher than the overall median intake level of 187 (116, 315) µg/day. Relative to the Institute of Medicine recommended iodine intake level of 160-220 µg/day, women with intake levels < 100 µg/day, 100-<160 µg/day, >220-<400 µg/day and ≥400 µg/day had increased adjusted odds of 6-month postpartum anhedonia symptoms (aOR = 1.74 (95% CI: 1.08, 2.79), 1.25 (95% CI: 0.80, 1.99), 1.31 (95% CI: 0.82, 2.10), and 1.47 (95% CI: 0.86, 2.51), respectively). The corresponding estimates for postpartum global depressive symptoms were similar but of smaller magnitude. Conclusions: Prenatal iodine intake, whether below or above the recommended levels for pregnant women, was most strongly associated with greater anhedonia symptoms, particularly in the 6-month postpartum period. Further studies are warranted to corroborate these findings, as dietary and supplemental iodine intake are amenable to intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2024


  • anhedonia
  • depressive symptoms
  • iodine intake
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • pregnancy cohort


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