One of the most popular pregnancy cravings is chocolate. But some pregnant women wonder if consuming chocolate is safe for them and their unborn baby. On this issue, there is good news. A study done recently at Yale University showed that snacking on chocolate during pregnancy can help prevent complications and premature birth and reduce the chance of preeclampsia. The study found a link between a chemical in cocoa and stable blood pressure.
Another study at the University of Helsinki in Finland showed that eating chocolate while pregnant benefits babies. The babies of mothers who ate chocolate smiled and laughed earlier and more often than the babies of mothers who consumed no chocolate. The babies of mothers who ate chocolate also displayed less fear, and a more positive mood than those who did not.
While chocolate does contain caffeine, chocolate cravings may denote a dietary deficiency of magnesium and iron. There is no scientific evidence that moderate amounts of chocolate is dangerous for pregnant women. In fact, there is evidence that chocolate works in the brain to promote feelings of comfort and well-being.
With that said, expectant moms who have gestational diabetes should steer clear of chocolate and other simple carbs, which can exacerbate the symptoms. Eating too much chocolate can add too many calories to your diet, and make you too full for healthy foods.