You always hear about the food you should or shouldn’t eat during pregnancy; let me assure you that chocolate isn’t one of those things you have to worry about missing out on. In fact, chocolate has some benefits for you and the baby.
Safely Eating Chocolate While You’re Pregnant
Chocolate is safe to eat while you’re pregnant. However, we’re talking about a few pieces and small portions. King-sized candy bars shouldn’t be eaten in one sitting by anyone; indulgence in moderation is key to a healthy, balanced pregnancy and life in general.
Be Mindful About Sugar Intake
Many moms-to-be are extra cautious about their diet. They monitor the intake of sugars, caffeine, and any unnecessary additives. That’s not without good reason; research results show us that consuming high amounts of added sugars and too many calories can lead to several adverse health outcomes for momma and baby.
High sugar diets have been associated with higher risks of the following issues:
- Preterm Birth
- Gestational Diabetes
- Increased Gestational Weight Gain
Keeping added sugar consumption at a minimum is worth avoiding those pregnancy issues. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat chocolate. You can reduce your added sugar intake by choosing chocolate items with lower added sugars than others. Read those labels, ladies.
White chocolate and milk chocolate are typically very sweet. That being said, the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar content. However, darker chocolate has higher levels of caffeine, bringing us to our next topic.
Too much caffeine has been linked to a risk of miscarriage. 200 milligrams of caffeine daily is the recommended limit, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG).
Benefits of Eating Chocolate During Pregnancy For Moms
According to a 2010 study, regular chocolate splurges can decrease the risk of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. Now, I’m not saying you should swap your prenatal vitamins with chocolate. Still, some dark chocolate contains minerals like copper, magnesium, and iron.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which help strengthen the immune system. A 2018 study discovered that eating dark chocolate for eight days improved specific markers of brain function.
Benefits of Eating Chocolate For Babies
Two groups of women participated in a 2016 study, eating 30 grams of chocolate daily for 12 weeks. One group ate low flavonol, the other high flavanol chocolate. Both groups showed an increased blood flow to the fetus, which is beneficial for optimal growth.
However, during the third trimester, the positive correlation between chocolate and blood flow during pregnancy can cause concern. A study from 2014 studied chocolate consumption during the third trimester, with the conclusion showing that adverse effects could impact the baby’s arteriosus (DA) late in the pregnancy. DA is a fetal blood vessel essential for development, and it disappears shortly after birth.
Eating chocolate in moderation during your pregnancy isn’t likely going to cause you anything other than sweet, chocolatey delight. While the benefits may seem small, they’re very worth it. The drawbacks of eating chocolate in moderation are you can’t eat more!