Choline: Exploring the Growing Science on Its Benefits for Moms and Babies

Choline supports fetal brain development*

The American Academy of Pediatrics coined choline a “brain-building” nutrient.* In utero, the fetus relies on choline as a building block for newly forming cells in baby’s brain and nervous system, for gene expression, and much more.* Much like folate, choline is an essential ingredient for the development of the spinal column (aka the neural tube).*

As one of the structural elements of cell membranes, choline helps the nervous system’s neurons and muscles communicate by forming neurotransmitters. * Choline stimulates cell growth in the regions of the brain that control learning, memory, and attention during fetal development. *.


During pregnancy, choline is a crucial nutrient that you and the developing baby both require. This nutrient supports the formation of neurotransmitters and aids in the proper development of your baby’s spinal cord and brain [1]. Consuming choline during your third trimester affects your developing baby’s long-term memory [2]. Choline, like folate, guards against neural tube defects and cleft lip and palate in developing babies.

Choline influences DNA synthesis and helps your body produce fats that make up cellular membranes. It is known to help your brain, nervous system, and memory function. It can also regulate your mood and cognition functions, perfect for postpartum blues! [3]

What Happens If You Don’t Have Enough Choline?

Actually, about 90% of US adults’ diets are deficient in choline. In women of child-bearing age, 96% of women ages 15-30 years and 94% of women ages 31-50 years are not consuming enough choline through their diet [7] The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that most women do not consume enough choline to maintain healthy brain and spinal cord development during pregnancy and lactation. [12].

In fact, choline and DHA cooperate to support the health of the brain and eyes. According to research, choline and DHA intake should be adequate for fetal brain and eye development. [5,7]†.

Choline is not a component of all prenatal multivitamins, so it’s crucial to read the ingredient label to determine what’s included. Pregnant or trying to conceive women have specific nutritional needs, and good prenatal multivitamins are designed to address those needs. An essential prenatal supplement should, at the very least, contain vitamin A, all eight B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin e, and vitamin k (plus important minerals). But the best prenatal supplements should also contain these seven essential nutrients: choline, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, iron, and folate/folic acid.

Why you need choline during pregnancy | Sponsored by Balchem VitaCholine

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