Including choline in diet during pregnancy and nursing will lessen neural tube defects, boosts baby’s brain development, reduces down syndrome dysfunction, protects against neurodegenerative conditions, protects the baby from stress, helps with pregnancy foggy brain and improves cognitive functioning of the baby.
Being a parent can be the most beautiful experience for anybody. No doubt every parent will try to give the best care to their baby. The growth and development of the baby starts right from the womb and the diet and lifestyle of the mother during pregnancy and nursing. In order to provide better nutrition, you may have to include some extra stuff in your diet. It is one such nutrient which can enhance the growth process your baby. Medical professionals consider it to be as important as folic acid. It is a water- soluble nutrient and a part of the vitamin B group. It plays a very important role in the development of brain and liver and has many more benefits linked with it. There are many such nutrients which are exceptionally important for pregnant women, but now we are focusing on the critical importance of choline. So, let’s dive into some more facts, benefits and some side effects of choline.
7 Must Know Benefits of Choline during Pregnancy
There are certain essential nutrients that you need to take in for the betterment of your baby and to avoid certain problems. Choline is one of them. Here are some of the benefits of it.
Neural tube defects:
Neural tube defects are the defects in the brain, spinal cord and spine which appear in the baby even before birth. It sometimes occurs in the first month of pregnancy itself, that is, it may be hovering over your baby even before you come to know that you are about to conceive. Researchers have claimed that the women who include enough amount of choline in their diet during the time of conception, have less chances of having babies with neural tube defect as compared to women who do not take enough amount of choline.
Boosts baby’s brain development:
Choline is considered to be highly helpful in baby’s brain development. Women who take appropriate amount of it during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, their baby tend to learn faster and the processing of information is significantly faster. It also plays an important role in complete development of the brain and spinal cord. Thus, you can conclude that if you take in good amount of choline, your baby will be a great learner and will adapt to everything quickly as compared to babies whose mothers do not take in choline at all or in less amount.
As choline directly affects the brain of the baby, more intake during pregnancy and nursing by the mother can provide cognitive and emotional benefits to infants who are suffering from down syndrome. It also guards against dementia. So, in case your baby is suffering from this syndrome, choline that goes in his/her body while breastfeeding can help easing the symptoms and make the condition less critical.
Protects against neurodegenerative conditions:
Neurodegenerative conditions are the ones in which the neuron of the brain are affected. As the neuron is the building block of the brain and spinal cord, so the brain and spinal cord are the ones affected. Parkinson’s disease , Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease are some of the examples of neurodegenerative conditions. The neuroprotective properties of it protects your baby from these diseases.
Protects the baby from stress:
Studies have shown that taking in more choline during pregnancy can reduce the response of the fetus to stress and thus it can help the baby to avoid suffering from hypertension and diabetes later on in their life. Babies tend to have 33 percent less cortisol (hormone released in response of stress) in their body, thus the stress level and sugar level remains under control.
Helps women with pregnancy related ‘foggy brain’:
During pregnancy, women tend to have small bouts of forgetfulness. This condition is also called momnesia. It happens because during pregnancy women have up to 40x more hormones in their brain. Including it in your diet can be of some help in easing forgetfulness and you may forget less often.
Improves the cognitive functioning of the baby:
Cognitive development of the baby is the development of his perception, thought, memory,language and physical coordination of the baby. They tend to cope up with it as they grow. But if the mother has taken enough choline during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the baby develops these skills rather quickly. The deficit of choline can lead to memory and cognitive deficits.
Side effects of choline
Choline is considered to be safe and has no much side effects. But if the dose increases unnecessarily, it may cause some problem. Increased amount in the body can cause excessive sweating, fishy body odor, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, and vomiting. Too much of choline in the body also increases the risk of cancel in the rectum and colon. So, we can say that choline is safe when taken by the mouth and taken in appropriate amount. Upto 3 grams or 3.5 grams of choline daily works well for pregnant women and causes no side effects. The other side effects are not specified, so its better to stick to the dose, or else it can harm the baby and the mother.
These were the possible benefits and side effects of taking in choline during pregnancy and breastfeeding. As you see it has very few side effects and several benefits, but our body is incapable to produce enough of it so you need to include certain other choline supplements in our diet. It is primarily found in egg yolks, wheat germ, atlantic cod, broccoli, cauliflower, cruciferous vegetables, chicken, turkey, whole young soybeans, spinach, almonds, brown rice and grapefruit naturally. Choline chloride and choline bitartrate are the safest form of choline for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Phosphatidylcholine has some gastrointestinal side effects, so it is not considered to a safe choice.
So, in order to feed your concern for your child and his proper development make it a point to include choline in your diet during pregnancy and nursing. Happy parenting!