Can You Eat Chocolate While Pregnant?
A healthy diet is extremely important during pregnancy — not just for the mom-to-be’s sake, but also to provide her unborn child with all the nutrients he needs. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and lots of water are all essential parts of a pregnancy diet.
Many pregnant women develop cravings during pregnancy and chocolate is one of the most common, says Heidi Murkoff, the author of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” It is perfectly safe to eat chocolate during pregnancy, but there are a few things to bear in mind.
It’s entirely safe for most moms to eat chocolate during pregnancy, says dietician Melinda Johnson. However, as with any other foods with a high fat or sugar content, it is best to consume chocolate in moderation.
Eating too much chocolate when pregnant may lead to excessive weight gain or too high a caffeine intake, if you also drink coffee or carbonated beverages. Expectant women should keep their daily caffeine intake under 200 milligrams per day, says Johnson. Check with your doctor before consuming chocolate and other simple carbohydrates; these should be avoided if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Eating moderate amounts of chocolate during pregnancy may actually be good for you, says Murkoff. Chocolate contains chemicals believed to boost mood and relieve stress. A Yale University study, “Chocolate Consumption in Pregnancy and Reduced Likelihood of Pre-eclampsia,” reported in the 2008 Epidemiology journal that moms-to-be who ate greater amounts of chocolate were less likely to develop pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia can lead to premature birth and major health complications, even death, for the mother or the baby if not treated promptly, so don’t rely on chocolate if you think your blood pressure is up — see your doctor immediately.
Keep it Dark
Dark chocolate has more health benefits than its milk equivalent, says Fitness Magazine. It contains a higher percentage of cocoa, which is where chocolate’s nutritional value comes from.
Cocoa is a source of flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are believed to help boost vascular function, lower blood pressure and enhance the benefits of vitamin C. The darker the chocolate, therefore, the better is it for you and your baby. Fitness Magazine recommends going for chocolate with at least 65 percent cocoa.
One form of chocolate that shouldn’t be eaten during pregnancy is chocolate mousse, warns Kids Health. Mousse often contains raw eggs, which should be avoided due to the risk of illnesses like listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which are transmitted through food and can be very dangerous to an unborn baby. Stick to other forms of chocolate during pregnancy.