Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t love to eat the delicious chocolate? Children, young men and women, mom, dad, older people -all types of human beings love to eat chocolate.But is chocolate safe for pregnant woman? Answer is: Yes chocolate is perfectly safe for most pregnant women—in moderation. Some recent researches have suggested that eating chocolate in medium is beneficial for pregnant woman and upcoming baby. So it’s very good news for all you expectant mothers out there: eating 30g of chocolate every day during pregnancy may benefit fetal growth and development. This is the conclusion of a new study recently presented at the 2016 Pregnancy Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Atlanta, GA.
Researches on chocolate and its benefits on pregnancy
Recently there are so many researchers have done on chocolate and most of them got the positive result of eating chocolate during pregnancy. The latest research results are likely to be warmly welcomed by moms-to-be, given the lengthy list of foods women are told to avoid during pregnancy. While chocolate it is - thankfully -absent from this no-go list, expectant mothers are recommended against overindulging in the tasty treat due to its fat, sugar and caffeine content.
There are many advantages that may come with moderate chocolate consumption, however. Chocolate contains flavanols - a type of flavonoids - that have been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular problems and lower cholesterol; the darker the chocolate, the more flavanols it contains.
Previous studies have also suggested that moderate chocolate consumption during pregnancy may lower the risk of preeclampsia- where the blood supply to the fetus is reduced due to the mother's high blood pressure.
However, Dr. Emmanuel Bujold, of the Université Laval Québec City, Canada, notes that the results of research assessing the link between chocolate intake during pregnancy and preeclampsia have been conflicting, spurring him and his colleagues to find out more.
The researchers enrolled 129 expectant mothers with a singleton pregnancy who were between 11-14 weeks' gestation. All women had double notching on the uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index at study baseline. The uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index is a test that measures uterine, placental and fetal blood flow, and notches are an indicator of the risk of preeclampsia, hypertension and other possible pregnancy outcomes.
The expectant mothers were randomized to consume 30 g of either low- or high-flavanols chocolate daily for 12 weeks. Uterine artery Doppler pulsatility was measured again at the end of the 12 weeks, and the women were followed-up until they gave birth.
The team found that there were no differences in preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, placental weight and birth weight between the low- and high-flavanols chocolate groups.
However, the researchers identified a significant improvement in uterine artery Doppler pulsatility among both chocolate groups, suggesting that both low-flannels and high-flavanols chocolate may benefit fetal growth and development. This improvement was much greater than what is normally expected among the general population, the team notes.
"This study indicates that chocolate could have a positive impact on placenta and fetal growth and development and that chocolate's effects are not solely and directly due to flavanols content,"says Dr. Bujold.
Medical News Today asked Dr. Bujold whether they recommend that expectant mothers indulge in a daily dose of chocolate to improve fetal outcome. He replied:
"We cannot speculate on the overall effect of chocolate on the risk of preeclampsia from our study results because we didn't have a group of women who were not taking chocolate.
However, previous epidemiological studies along with our results suggest that consumption of dark chocolate during pregnancy could help in the improvement of placental function and the reduction of preeclampsia."
He added that the next step for the team is to conduct a large randomized control trial in order to better determine whether chocolate intake among expectant mothers can lower the risk of preeclampsia and other pregnancy-related hypertensive disorders.
"Regularly having a bit of chocolate may actually be beneficial during pregnancy," says nutritionist Dr Rana Conway. "There is some suggestion that it could reduce the risks of pre-eclampsia. A study in Finland found that women who ate chocolate during pregnancy had babies who laughed and smiled more often than the babies of non-chocolate eaters."
Last November, MNT reported on another study that is likely to have been welcomed by expectant mothers. Published in the “American Journal of Epidemiology”, the study suggests that consuming moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy does not impact offspring's intelligence.
Nutritional values of chocolate
Chocolates have a lot of nutritional values. It contains fat, carbohydrate, milk, sugar, caffeine etc. Below we will discuss about chocolate main nutritional values, so you can be better knowledgeable.
1. Fat and calories
Chocolate offers great health benefits, however,excessive consumption of chocolate during pregnancy leads to extreme weight gain contributed by the increased calories and fat intake. Weight gain during pregnancy may lead to gestational diabetes, varicose veins, fatigue, high blood pressure and an increased possibility for caesarean section delivery. One and a half ounce of milk chocolate has 235 calories and 13 g of fat, similar quantity of dark chocolate gives you 290 calories with 19 g of fat.
During pregnancy it’s important to monitor caffeine intake and if possible limit it to less than 200 mg per day since it’s linked with miscarriage. Chocolate has a certain caffeine percentage. Excessive intake of caffeine in combination with tea, coffee and soft drinks, may exceed the amount of caffeine considered healthy during pregnancy. One and a half ounce of milk chocolate contains 9 mg caffeine, and the same quantity of dark chocolate contains 43 mg of caffeine.
The NHS recommends a maximum of 200mg of caffeine each day, so keeping an eye on intake is definitely worthwhile.
The approximate amount of caffeine found in chocolate is:
- 50g bar of plain (dark) chocolate: around 50mg
- 50g bar of milk chocolate: around 25mg
- White chocolate does not contain caffeine
Good quality chocolate has a significant amount of milk too. The nutrient values in milk are very high relative to its small number of. It is a refreshing beverage and can be used as a base for other drinks such as hot chocolate or specialty coffees. A glass of milk contains three of the four nutrients that USDA deems under-consumed by most Americans—calcium, vitamin D and potassium. Thus, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that individuals ages 9 and older consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day; those 4 – 8 years should consume 2-1/2 cups each day. One serving of milk is one 8-ounce cup.
4. White sugar
Chocolate has high sugar content of about 23 g per 1.5 ounce of milk chocolate and around 18 g for the same dark chocolate amount. Consumption of excess sugar during pregnancy leads to gestational diabetes, weight gain, and dental health issues. To ensure that you consume safe amount of sugar for you and the developing baby you can contact your obstetrician.