Last update July 2, 2015

Povidone Iodide

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Disinfectant that contains huge amount (until 12%) of Iodine.

Not absorbed through intact skin of adults. However, it may trespass the inflamed skin, wounds, mucosa surfaces like vagina, in which case can reach concentration in grams in the human serum (1 g = 1,000 milligrams = 1,000,000 micrograms). Normal daily allowance is considered to be as high as 100 to 150 micrograms that increases to 200 – 300 micrograms in pregnancy or nursing period. The latter means less than one third of a milligram.

Iodine is concentrated into breast milk with a level that could reach 20 times higher than the concentration in the blood.

It has been found higher levels of Iodine, altered results of neonatal screening test for thyroid function, and, transient hypothyroidism in infants whose mothers were exposed to Iodine Povidone.

Use should be avoid in the Delivery Room, Operating Room (C-section), Neonatal Units, Toddler admision areas and during the breastfeeding period.

Sporadic or inadvertent use, specially on normal skin, does not require special test or procedures because it does not pose higher risk to the child.


  • Chlorhexidine ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Povidone Iodide in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Povidone Iodide in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 100 %
M/P ratio 25 -


  1. Kurtoglu S, Bastug O, Daar G, Halis H, Korkmaz L, Memur S, Korkut S, Gunes T, Ozturk MA. Effect of Iodine Loading on the Thyroid Hormone Level of Newborns Living in Kayseri Province. Am J Perinatol. 2014 Abstract
  2. Kurtoğlu S, Akın L, Akın MA, Çoban D. Iodine overload and severe hypothyroidism in two neonates. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2009;1(6):275-7. Abstract
  3. Smith VC, Svoren BM, Wolfsdorf JI. Hypothyroidism in a breast-fed preterm infant resulting from maternal topical iodine exposure. J Pediatr. 2006 Oct;149(4):566-7. Abstract
  4. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Casteels K, Pünt S, Brämswig J. Transient neonatal hypothyroidism during breastfeeding after post-natal maternal topical iodine treatment. Eur J Pediatr. 2000 Sep;159(9):716-7. No abstract available. Abstract
  6. Koga Y, Sano H, Kikukawa Y, Ishigouoka T, Kawamura M. Effect on neonatal thyroid function of povidone-iodine used on mothers during perinatal period. J Obstet Gynaecol (Tokyo 1995). 1995 Abstract
  7. Rakover Y, Adar H. [Thyroid function disturbances in an infant following maternal topical use of polydine]. Harefuah. 1989 Abstract
  8. Arena Ansotegui J, Emparanza Knörr JI, San Millán Vege MJ, Garrido Chércoles A, Eguileor Gurtubai I. [Iodine overload in newborn infants caused by the use of PVP-iodine for perineal preparation of the mother in vaginal delivery]. An Esp Pediatr. 1989 Abstract
  9. Chanoine JP, Pardou A, Bourdoux P, Delange F. Withdrawal of iodinated disinfectants at delivery decreases the recall rate at neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism. Arch Dis Child. 1988 Abstract
  10. Chanoine JP, Boulvain M, Bourdoux P, Pardou A, Van Thi HV, Ermans AM, Delange F. Increased recall rate at screening for congenital hypothyroidism in breast fed infants born to iodine overloaded mothers. Arch Dis Child. 1988 Abstract
  11. Delange F, Chanoine JP, Abrassart C, Bourdoux P. Topical iodine, breastfeeding, and neonatal hypothyroidism. Arch Dis Child. 1988 Abstract
  12. Danziger Y, Pertzelan A, Mimouni M. Transient congenital hypothyroidism after topical iodine in pregnancy and lactation. Arch Dis Child. 1987 Abstract
  13. Postellon DC, Aronow R. Iodine in mother's milk. JAMA. 1982 Abstract

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