SAHMRI Senior Research Fellow and Midwife, Dr Karen Best, has dedicated her career to helping women and children through pregnancy as both a clinician and a researcher. These days she spends her time striving to find the answers to help women give birth to healthier babies.
KIDDO caught up with Dr Best to find out about the PoppiE Study, a one of a kind trial aiming to discover the optimal level of iodine pregnant women should consume to assist with baby brain development.
What’s special about the PoppiE Study?
PoppiE is the first randomised controlled trial to look at the amount of iodine in supplements for pregnant women who may be getting enough iodine from their food intake. This study will provide the evidence we need to pinpoint how much iodine women should be taking during pregnancy to help with baby’s brain and nervous system development.
Why is it so important to investigate this?
Finding out the ideal amount of iodine to have during pregnancy is important because studies have shown that not getting enough iodine can lead to lower developmental scores in children, as can having too much iodine.
Recent studies suggest that some women get enough iodine from the food they eat and may not need the amount of iodine in common prenatal supplements. More is not always better, we need to find out what the optimal amount of iodine is for pregnant women.
How many participants are you looking for?
We’re looking for 750 women from around Australia to join the study and we’re really eager to hear from potential participants as soon as possible!
What’s the criteria?
Women must be less than 13 weeks of pregnancy in order to take part. This is because iodine intake can start to make an impact in early pregnancy.
How do we check if we’re eligible?
Firstly, just scan the QR code on this article and it’ll take you to the SAHMRI website to answer a few questions about your pregnancy.
If your answers meet the study criteria, you’ll then be asked to fill out a 10-minute online food frequency questionnaire that estimates how much iodine you have in your diet based on what you eat. We’ll notify you straight away of what your iodine intake is and if it’s above 165 micrograms per day, SAHMRI will contact you to explain the study and ask if you’re willing to take part.
What does participation in the study involve?
We’ve made it really simple and straight forward to be involved. There are no face to face visits until your baby is 24 months of age. Women who enrol will be given prenatal multivitamin supplements (similar to leading brands) with a standard amount of iodine or a reduced amount of iodine, to take daily until they give birth. They will be asked to answer some questions via text message or phone call as their pregnancy progresses and then every 6 months until their baby is 24 months.
We will ask mums to bring their baby to a clinic for a developmental assessment when they’re 24 months of age. We will reimburse families for their attendance and give them a report of the assessment.
What would you say to those who might be on the fence about signing up?
Please don’t underestimate the difference you can make! The reason we’re able to continually improve health outcomes for mothers and babies is due to the willingness of people to take part in important studies like this one.
By taking part in PoppiE you’re really helping us gather the evidence we need to be able to safely guide women and children towards the kind of healthier future we all want.
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