Why Women Should Try Eating Chocolate During Pregnancy, According To Research

Should women continue eating chocolate during pregnancy? According to a new research, pregnant women and their babies can greatly benefit from eating chocolates.

The study -- conducted by a research team from the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine --- shows some surprising benefits linked to eating chocolate during pregnancy. According to the findings, chocolate can help improve placental health and lower the risk of preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by a high blood pressure in women who do not have a history of having hypertension before getting pregnant. "If undiagnosed, preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, a serious condition that can put you and your baby at risk, and in rare cases, cause death," WebMD explains.

The research focused on eating chocolate during pregnancy involved the study of 129 women who were 11 to 14 weeks pregnant. Each of the study participants ate 30 grams of chocolate per day.

Some of the study participants were given chocolates with high-flavanol content and the others were given chocolates with low-flavanol content. Flavanol is believed by many to be the chocolate ingredient that provides the health benefits for pregnant women.

However, the research results show that all of the study participants eating chocolate during pregnancy -- whether high-flavanol or low-flavanol chocolate-- had better uterine, placental and fetal circulations compared to pregnant women from the general population. "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 flavanol content," study author Emmanuel Bujold, M.D., stated via Fit Pregnancy.

So how much chocolate should pregnant women eat every week? One study suggests that eating five servings of dark chocolate every week during the third trimester of pregnancy is the most effective amount in preventing preeclampsia, Livestrong reports.

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