Support your baby’s brain development during your pregnancy by including choline in your daily diet.

Choline is a key nutrient for mums to consume during pregnancy as it supports your baby’s brain development.i

During pregnancy, choline helps proper development of your baby’s brain cells and strengthens the structure of cell membranesii. Choline also contributes to the synthesis of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning.

Choline may also help protect your baby against neural tube defectsi, thus making it one of the important nutrients you should be taking to give him or her a healthy start in life.

How much choline do you need?

During your pregnancy, you will need 450 milligrams (mg) of choline each day.

Then after the birth of your baby, you should increase your choline intake to 550 mg as choline is transferred to your baby through milk as you breastfeed.

For example, 1 egg provides around 150 mg of choline, 100 g of meats or fish provides around 100 mg of choline, while 1 glass of milk (200 ml) provides around 40 mg of choline.

Where can you get choline?

Here are some key sources of choline that you should include in your diet during your pregnancy to support your baby’s brain development:

  • Eggs (especially the yolk)

  • Meat (such as chicken, beef , and pork)

  • Fish (such as cod, salmon, and tilapia)

  • Vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, and cauliflower)

  • Milk and other dairy products

  • Beans (such as soy beans, kidney beans, and peas)

  • Nuts (such as peanuts, pistachios, and cashews)

 

References:


i  Zeisel, S. H. (2013). Nutrition in pregnancy: the argument for including a source of choline. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639110/

ii  Zeisel SH (2006) Choline: Critical Role During Fetal Development and Dietary Requirements in Adults; Annu Reb Nutr; 26: 229-250

iii  Choline: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved 2 June 2017 from, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/