Disclosure: I am thrilled to partner with Balchem, a nutrition ingredient supplier for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
Choline is a micronutrient that actually wasn’t recognized as an essential nutrient by the Institute of Medicine until the late 1990’s. And here’s the thing- our bodies are actually capable of making some choline on its own, but we’re finally realizing we definitely need to consume more choline-abundant foods and possibly even consider supplementation to meet our needs- especially as it pertains to maternal and infant health.
Choline needs increase during the perinatal period so if you’re even considering becoming pregnant or what we call being “a woman of child-bearing age”, it’s a pretty wise idea to tune in to what foods are considered to be abundant in choline and whether or not your prenatal supplements contain choline. Before we chat about food sources (and I introduce y’all to an incredibly helpful Pregnancy Menu Plan), I want to share a few surprising tidbits. And in true transparency, I actually didn’t know any of these things until earlier this year!
Many of my clients have been asking specifically about how choline plays a roll during pregnancy. Choline has several functions, and honestly it probably does more than research is even able to show at this time, but most notably, it influences brain health and also provides potential protection against neural tube defects. I’ve come to see choline to be just as important as folic acid. By now, most women are aware how important folate is for a healthy pregnancy and hopefully, with the recent focus on choline by the AMA and FDA, we will begin to quickly recognize choline as a nutrient essential for a healthy pregnancy and even the postpartum period.
To all the mommas out there- hopeful moms to be, currently pregnant, those in the early postpartum stages and those raising rapidly growing kiddos, you have the most valiant job there is on the planet. Way to go, and remember to spend time filling your tank up too- there’s only so much you can do for your little ones, if you aren’t giving to yourself also. <3
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