Fond of dark chocolate? We are talking about the very dark bitter chocolate that people usually dislike. It’s the kind of chocolate that is most likely consumed by those on a diet. If you wanted to get a bit more savvy about this kind of chocolate, call it a ‘high flavanol chocolate.’ It has high flavonol content, so while on the outward it may not be all yummy like a regular chocolate, pregnant women have good reasons to swear by it.
Yes, now women, especially pregnant ones have all the reason on earth to eat chocolates. It could be totally justified by the backing of some science. A recent study suggests that a little dose of chocolate on a daily basis is good for you during pregnancy. The study involved pregnant ladies eating thirty grams of chocolate every day for twelve weeks with a follow up until delivery. It was found that this daily dose of chocolate had a positive effect on the placenta and placental function, and helped an improved blood flow that boosted the fetal development and growth. It wasn’t just the high flavanol but also low-flavanol chocolate that proved to carry similar benefits. Dr. Emmanuel Bujold, one of the researchers on the study explained that the study was an indicative of a direct link between the benefits of flavanol with placental function and fetal development.
The study by a team from Universite Laval Quebec City was performed on hundred and twenty nine carrying women with single pregnancies between a gestation period of eleven and fourteen weeks. The women were divided into two groups – those who ate high flavanol containing chocolate and those who ate the low flavanol ones.
Scientists measured the uterine artery Doppler pulsating index which is a uterine blood velocity marker. It was found that this index was steady at a baseline twelve weeks later. Uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index is a marker of the blood velocity in the uterine, placental and fetal circulations. The pulsating index showed significant improvement in the both the groups than the general population.
The scientists also assessed other factors like gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, birthweight and placental weight in the women. No significant impact on any of these was observed in the two groups.
So while the benefits as these and reduced pregnancy complications like preeclampsia have been observed, the experiments involved lacked a control group with pregnant women not consuming any chocolate – obviously, they would hardly want to volunteer for a study. Therefore further research is needed to confirm the finding and also assess the spectrum of different quantities of chocolate and the kind of benefit it would have on them.
In yet another study, it turned out that there is a significant link between a child’s temperament and the amount of chocolate a woman might eat in her pregnancy. Researchers in Finland observed over three hundred mothers in a maternity ward. The researchers compared the mothers who ate chocolate with those who ate none. It turned out that the babies of the chocolate-eaters were less erratic, less fearful and more easily soothed when compared to the babies of those mothers who had no chocolate intake during pregnancy. Apparently chocolate emerged as a stress reliever among these mothers and therefore their kids were more cheerful than the latter.
The only piece of advice that comes now is that if you don’t crave for chocolates during pregnancy, just don’t have them. You are not obligated to dig into them because the study suggests it will keep your baby happy. The fact that you have an aversion for chocolate now means that you aren’t making your baby a happy one with forced chocolate consumption.
But in a case otherwise, it’s great news that pregnant women can have chocolates! So go ahead and indulge!