Mothers-to-be can assist in a research project to investigate the iodine status of pregnant women.

The programme is the first research following the 2009 government decree that iodised salt be added to all bread. The study aims to investigate the iodine status of expectant mothers in three centres - Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin.

University of Otago student Abbey Billing, in her final year of a Masters in Dietetics, based in Hamilton, aims to recruit 100 pregnant women in Hamilton to take part in the project.

"I have a strong interest in maternal and infant nutrition and this year I was lucky enough to be offered a project with Dr Sheila Skeaff in the Kiwi Women and Iodine in Pregnancy (KWIPS) study.


"Iodine is an important nutrient, like calcium and iron, and is found in the foods we eat. Iodine is needed by our bodies to make hormones for growth; iodine plays a particularly important role in the brain development of the foetus during pregnancy.

"Mild iodine deficiency re-emerged in New Zealand resulting in the Government requiring that iodised salt to be added to all breads from 2009. Since the introduction of iodised salt to bread there have been no studies investigating the iodine status of pregnant women in New Zealand, and whether the addition of iodine to the bread supply has improved the iodine status of pregnant women," Ms Billing said.

Participants will be asked to undertake a 15-minute questionnaire on general knowledge of iodine and their diet, and also provide a urine sample which will show how much iodine they are getting from their diet.

"All participants will be given a $10 petrol voucher on completion and be given the opportunity to ask me questions about their diet and I am happy to provide any advice they might need."

Anyone wishing to take part in the research should call Ms Billing on 0800 080 053 or email

- Hamilton News