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The Importance of Choline During Pregnancy

The Importance of Choline During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of many changes. Women are adapting to a change in lifestyle, diet, body size and so much more. Nutrition during pregnancy is a crucial topic since it affects more than just the mom herself.

We are continuing to learn more about nutrients and nutrition during pregnancy. As a matter of fact, many of these nutrients are important for women before they even conceive. However, pregnant women need additional nutrition, including omega 3’s, iron, calcium and folic acid, but one nutrient that we’re now realizing is of critical importance is also choline!

Health Benefits of Choline

Choline plays a critical role in health maintenance throughout the lifespan, providing specific functions in brain and spinal cord development, cognitive functioning, metabolism, and so much more. It is also an essential nutrient, meaning it must be provided by the diet we eat since the body cannot make enough of it on its own.

Choline and Pregnancy

Data from the 2009-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that nearly 90% of Americans do not get sufficient choline and that 90-95% of pregnant women consume less than the adequate intake of choline; a time when perhaps they need it the most (3).

Did you know that the FDA recently increased the daily recommended intake of choline? It is now 425 mg per day for adult women and 550 mg per day for adult men. When pregnant though or breastfeeding these daily recommendations increase to 450 mg during pregnancy and 550 mg during breastfeeding.

Pre-natal supplements typically contain little choline, if any, posing a challenge if women aren’t consuming a varied diet. During pregnancy, sufficient choline can decrease the risk of pre-eclampsia and may help reduce the baby’s stress levels, while helping with normal development.

While choline deficiencies can pose health problems in adults, they can also be problematic for growing babies. Choline is vital for brain development before birth and during infancy.

EB Eggs & Choline

EB Eggs (yolks included) are an excellent source of choline, ranking them among some of the top choline-content foods. One large Eggland’s Best egg provides 147 mg or about 25% of the daily choline recommendations for pregnancy.

Other good dietary sources of choline include beef (particularly beef liver), chicken, fish, milk, and soybeans.

Foods containing 55 to 104.5 mg of choline (10-19% of the daily value) of choline per serving are declared a “good source,” and foods containing 110 mg or more of choline per serving are an “excellent source.” EB eggs are considered an excellent source and are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet! Plus, not to mention they have superior nutrition than ordinary eggs and provide more than double the omega's 3.

Check out this choline-packed breakfast skillet made up of beef, vegetables, and of course EB Eggs for a meal packed with flavor and great nutrition!

Written by Sarah Schlichter, RD. Blog: