Skin disinfection with povidine-iodine (PVP-I) is widely used in obstetrics. We evaluated the influence of PVP-I in mothers at delivery on the serum thyroid stimulating hormone concentrations of their infants at the time of screening for congenital hypothyroidism. The study covered 4745 infants who were either breast fed (3659, 77%) or bottle fed (1086, 23%); 3086 (65%) of them were born to mothers with no iodine overload (controls) and 1659 (35%) to mothers with iodine overload. Compared with the control group, the breast and bottle fed infants born to mothers with iodide overload had a shift of neonatal thyroid stimulating hormone concentration towards high values. The shift was maximal in the breast fed infants with a 25 to 30 fold increase in the recall rate at screening for congenital hypothyroidism (serum thyroid stimulating hormone greater than 50 mU/l) while in the bottle fed infants, the recall rate was barely modified. In conclusion, the use of PVP-I in mothers at delivery induces a transient impairment of thyroid function in their infants, especially if breast fed. This situation is detrimental to screening for congenital hypothyroidism. Consequently PVP-I is not recommended in obstetrics.
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