The importance of ensuring adequate choline intakes during pregnancy is increasingly recognized. Choline is critical for a number of physiological processes during the prenatal period with roles in membrane biosynthesis and tissue expansion, neurotransmission and brain development, and methyl group donation and gene expression. Studies in animals and humans have shown that supplementing the maternal diet with additional choline improves several pregnancy outcomes and protects against certain neural and metabolic insults. Most pregnant women in the U.S. are not achieving choline intake recommendations of 450 mg/day and would likely benefit from boosting their choline intakes through dietary and/or supplemental approaches.
Keywords: choline; cognitive development; epigenetic programming; placenta; pregnancy outcomes.