Chocolate, wine, caffeine; it seems like every couple of days a new report on the benefits of one of these substances comes out. Unfortunately, a lot of those pro-wine and pro-caffeine arguments go out the window when you’re pregnant. But I have good news; if you’re pregnant, you may want to consider eating more chocolate.
A number of research studies have shown that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, benefits pregnancy. A study in 2008 found that theobromine (a key chemical in chocolate) concentrations in the umbilical cord were inversely associated with preeclampsia.1 A study in 2010 found that pregnant women with preeclampsia consumed significantly less chocolate than those who did not experience preeclampsia.2 And a randomized control trial, published in 2012, found that pregnant women given daily doses of high-cocoa chocolate had significantly reduced blood pressure, compared to the control group.3
Of course, you still don’t want to eat too much chocolate. The common attitude that pregnancy is an excuse to stop being careful with the calories is harmful; we’ve discussed the dangers of gestational diabetes in a previous blog post. But chocolate, in moderation, can be a beneficial sweet to eat, for both you and baby!
1: Triche, E. W., Grosso, L. M., Belanger, K., Darefsky, A. S., Benowitz, N. L., & Bracken, M. B. (2008). Chocolate consumption in pregnancy and reduced likelihood of preeclampsia. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), 19(3), 459.
2: Saftlas, A. F., Triche, E. W., Beydoun, H., & Bracken, M. B. (2010). Does chocolate intake during pregnancy reduce the risks of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension?. Annals of epidemiology, 20(8), 584-591.
3: Di Renzo, G. C., Brillo, E., Romanelli, M., Porcaro, G., Capanna, F., Kanninen, T. T., … & Clerici, G. (2012). Potential effects of chocolate on human pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 25(10), 1860-1867.