Eating chocolate while pregnant
During pregnancy, when you're eating for two, you sometimes have strange and sudden cravings, one of which is pretty much guaranteed: chocolate! We have to say it: when you're out of chocolate in the evening, sending your partner out to get some is absolutely justifiable!
Is eating dark chocolate good or bad during pregnancy?
Eating chocolate when you're pregnant is perfectly safe but, of course, you should enjoy it in moderation, paying close attention to caffeine, sugar and calorie levels. You should choose high-quality chocolate that is, ideally, low in sugar.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can harm the fetus, so pregnant women should not consume more than 20g per day in total. 100g of dark chocolate contains about 8g of caffeine, so enjoy it in moderation and don't drink too much coffee.
Eating dark chocolate while pregnant
The benefits that chocolate provides depend on the percentage of cocoa that it contains, so the darker the chocolate, the more it will benefit both the mother and child.
You don't have to completely avoid milk chocolate when pregnant, but it's less suitable as it's higher in sugar.
Researchers at Yale University have shown that eating chocolate reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia by almost 70% due to the theobromine contained in cocoa, which has diuretic, cardiotonic and vasodilatory effects.
For this reason, we recommend eating around 30g of dark chocolate from the first trimester onwards to improve circulation and reduce blood pressure. In addition, chocolate improves mood and reduces stress by increasing levels of endorphins and serotonin in the brain.
It should also be remembered that dark chocolate is high in iron and magnesium. Iron is essential for maintaining hemoglobin levels during pregnancy and magnesium helps metabolize fatty acids.
Eating chocolate while pregnant makes the child (and mother) happier
A study published in New Scientist Magazine revealed that women who had eaten chocolate gave birth to happier and more lively babies. The researchers randomly selected some mothers with six-month-old children and asked them how often they had eaten chocolate during their pregnancy. They were then asked to rate how happy their children were. Mothers who ate chocolate more frequently during pregnancy gave their children a higher happiness rating than mothers who did not eat it regularly.
Another interesting outcome of the study revealed that eating chocolate protected children from maternal stress. In actual fact, the mothers who never ate chocolate showed high levels of stress during pregnancy.
For mothers with a sweet tooth, we recommend chocolate with Piedmont Hazelnuts that, as well as being delicious and crunchy, are perfect for reducing LDL cholesterol and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
We only recommend avoiding chocolate if you struggle to control your blood sugar or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Pregnancy brings enough stress and things to worry about. Fortunately, craving chocolate at midnight isn't one of them!