Can you help us find out the ideal amount of iodine needed in pregnancy for baby’s brain development?

Who can take part in this National Study?

  • Pregnant women who are less than 13 weeks into their pregnancy, and live in; SA, NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT or WA.

Check your eligibility

Why are we interested in iodine in pregnancy?

Getting the right amount of iodine in pregnancy is important for baby’s brain and nervous system development. Since 2009, iodine has been added to some of our food and pregnant women are also advised to take a supplement containing iodine. Recent studies suggest that some women get enough iodine from the food they eat and may not need the amount of iodine that is contained in common prenatal supplements. The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) is working with colleagues around Australia to find out the optimal level of iodine supplementation for pregnant women who already have an adequate iodine intake from the food that they eat.

Why are we doing this study?

Folate is a B-group vitamin found in food that is essential for the healthy development of a baby in early pregnancy, in particular their neural tube from which the brain and spinal cord develop. The synthetic version of folate is called ‘folic acid’, and this is what is added to food or taken as a supplement. Taking folic acid supplements before becoming pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is important and has been shown to reduce neural tube defects. 

Why are we interested in what babies eat and drink?

The first two years of a baby’s life set the foundation for dietary patterns later in life. Previous national nutrition surveys did not include children under two years, therefore information on their diets is limited.

In this study, we would like to find out what children under two years of age are eating and drinking. Our study also aims to find out how today’s diets and feeding practices compare to Australian dietary guidelines.

With this information, we will provide better nutrition information to parents and caregivers about nutrition in the early years.

Why do we want to know about how you feed your child?

The aim of the MILQ study is to follow mother-infant pairs over the first 12 months of life to understand how families are feeding their full-term infants, and what challenges they experience.

We hope to use this information to inform the support services at South Australian hospitals and postnatal care providers. The information collected will also help us understand the current practices for the introduction of complementary feeding.

Are you less than 23 weeks pregnant? SAHMRI is looking for participants for the PrEggNut Study.

By 1 year of age, 10% (1 in every 10) of babies will develop a food allergy. Evidence to date suggests that the ideal time to prevent food allergy may be during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but little is known about the effect of what mothers eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding on the risk of food allergies in their babies. This research is testing whether the amount of eggs and peanuts a mother eats during pregnancy and breastfeeding has an influence on her baby’s food allergy development. Study results will be used to develop national recommendations about how much egg and peanut to eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding to reduce egg and peanut allergies in babies.

In response to clear indications from our Aboriginal Research Partnership that improving women’s and children’s nutrition was a high community priority, we developed a proposal for a NHMRC Targeted Call on Research for Preventing Obesity in 18-24 year olds. We were recently awarded $975,882 from NHMRC to conduct this five year study.

Why are we interested in what babies eat?

Australian infant feeding guidelines for prevention of food allergy encourage common allergens (egg, peanut paste and wheat) to be included in babies’ diets in their first year.

We would like to know how often one year old children are eating common food allergens like egg, peanut and wheat.

As a follow up to our N3RO Trial (N-3 fatty acids for improvement in Respiratory Outcomes), which showed that giving extra omega 3 fats to babies born <29 weeks has no effect on chronic lung disease and may indeed increase risk, we are investigating what the important longer-term effects at 5-years of age of extra DHA in the first months of life for babies born 3 to 4 months prematurely by assessing the children’s mental development.

A clinical trial led by Associate Professor Carmel Collins and funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. For further information please contact

The CRE in Targeted Nutrition to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes (NMC CRE) brings together a team of experts across Australia and New Zealand that will focus on 4 key themes based around nutritional interventions to optimise health outcomes of mothers and their children.

Get in touch
+61 8 8128 4000
You can't miss us!
North Terrace Adelaide 5000 South Australia
Postal Address
PO BOX 11060 Adelaide 5001 South Australia
Key Partners
SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna Nation.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and respects the traditional owners, the family clans who are the Kaurna Nation from the Adelaide Plains region of South Australia. We acknowledge the clans of the Kaurna Nation and the sacred knowledge they hold for their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna Nation, their ancestors and the descendants of these living family clans today.