Prenatal Vitamins During Pregnancy and Postpartum: Choline

By Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT


Choline is categorized as a B-vitamin and plays an important role in the human body during every lifecycle stage. However, during pregnancy alone, data suggests only 8% of pregnant people meet the recommended intake levels.


The Institute of Medicine’s recommended adequate intake of choline is 450 milligrams a day for pregnant people and 550 milligrams a day for lactating people. However, a  study evaluating the top 25 prenatal vitamins found that none contained the daily recommended choline intake for a pregnant/postpartum person, and over half contained none at all.  While experts agree in its importance, fitting that much choline into a small prenatal vitamin is challenging (it’s bulky!).


 spoon with prenatal vitamins for pregnancy


Understanding what is choline good for is continuously evolving; however, research consistently supports the importance of choline in the diet of pregnant and lactating people. A few findings regarding the benefits of choline include:


Some data suggests that there may be benefits in consuming choline beyond the 450-550 mg recommendation. Just don’t go too overboard – the National Institute of Health has set the tolerable upper intake levels of choline at 3,000 mg for pregnant people and 3,500 mg for lactating people (meaning that this amount is the absolute maximum recommended for consumption per day).


Looking for more sources of choline? Beef liver and egg yolks contain some of the most choline per serving, or you can take choline bitartrate (a choline supplement). Find a full list from the National Institute of Health of foods with choline milligrams per serving. 


Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider related to medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.


Written By: 

Leto Foods Nutrition Advisor Manaker

Lauren Manaker is the Leto Foods Nutrition Advisor. She is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, certified lactation educator-counselor, and book author. She specializes in women's health and holds a position on the executive committee of the Women's Health DPG of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lauren earned nutrition degrees from the University of Florida, Rush University, and University of California, San Diego. Follow her at @LaurenLovesNutrition on Instagram.