Eating dark chocolate and cocoa while you’re pregnant is not only good for you, it is good for baby too! Eating chocolate may help to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia which is likely to affect 3-8% of pregnancies. Yale University and the University of California conducted a study comparing 2,291 women over four years who consumed under one serving of chocolate weekly to those consuming five or more servings of chocolate per week. The researchers measured the levels of theobromine which is found in chocolate and chocolate products such as cocoa by measuring the levels present in the umbilical cord. Chocolate also contains magnesium which lowers hypertension and contains flavanoids which are powerful antioxidants. They also noted the amount of chocolate consumed by the woman in both the first and third trimesters. The women in the study who consumed the most chocolate had babies with the highest concentration of theobromine in their cord blood. These women had a 69% reduction in risk of pre-eclampsia. Five and a half percent of the women in the study consuming the lowest amounts of chocolate and chocolate products per week during the last trimester developed pre-eclampsia. The women who consumed five or more servings per week had only 2.9% develop the condition.
Want a happy baby? Eat chocolate when you are pregnant. A Finnish study shows that eating chocolate during your pregnancy will make your baby happier and more playful when they are born. New Scientist magazine believes the mood altering chemical found in chocolate is responsible for these jubilant babies. The University of Helsinki questioned 300 women before, during and after they gave birth. Among the questions asked were to rate their stress levels and how much chocolate they consumed. The women who consumed chocolate on a regular basis and those that did not reported differences in the behavior of their babies. The stressed women who ate chocolate said their babies were more relaxed and less fearful in new situations and the stressed women who refrained from eating chocolate said that their infants were more hesitant and fearful in new situations. The scientists at the University of Helsinki believe the difference to be the consumption of chocolate and the benefits being passed on to the babies while in the womb as theobromine crosses the placenta barrier. Dark chocolate and cocoa would be a great addition to your diet in any case. Check with your doctor if you have any issues or problems during your pregnancy.