Reprinted from April 2008

According to scientific research in the U.S. eating chocolate, especially dark
chocolate, during pregnancy is good for mother and baby.
The new research suggests it could help prevent a serious complication known as
pre-eclampsia, where the blood pressure soars during pregnancy and excess
protein is released into the urine.

Dr. Elizabeth Triche from Yale University says pre-eclampsia is a major pregnancy
complication which has cardiovascular manifestations such as hypertension and
affects up to eight percent of pregnancies.

The researchers say dark chocolate is particularly rich in a chemical called
theobromine, which stimulates the heart, relaxes smooth muscle and dilates blood
vessels; it has been used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, and hardening
of the arteries.

Dr. Triche and her colleagues wanted to see whether chocolate's suspected
cardiovascular benefits also might help prevent pre-eclampsia.

To do this they studied 2,291 women who had delivered a single infant - they
questioned them on how much chocolate they consumed in their first and third
trimesters and also tested levels of theobromine in the infants' umbilical cord blood.

The research team found that women who consumed the most chocolate and those
whose infants had the highest concentration of theobromine in their cord blood
were the least likely to develop pre-eclampsia.

They found in fact that women with the highest cord blood theobromine were 69
percent less likely to develop the complication than those with the lowest; women
who ate five or more servings of chocolate each week in their third trimester of
pregnancy were 40 percent less likely to develop pre-eclampsia than those who ate
chocolate less than once a week.

Dr. Triche who is the associate director at the Yale Center for Perinatal, Pediatric &
Environmental Epidemiology, at Yale University, says theobromine could improve
circulation within the placenta while blocking oxidative stress, or it could also be a
stand-in for other beneficial chemicals found in chocolate.

The scientists say the other chemicals in chocolate include magnesium, which
lowers hypertension, and flavanoids, which are potent antioxidants and the darker
the chocolate is, the better it is.

The research is published in the May issue of Epidemiology.
( As if anyone needed another reason to eat chocolate, new research
published in the August 2010 issue of the Annals of Epidemiology suggests that chocolate may
be good for both gestational hypertension (GH) and for preeclampsia.1

This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with a lot of other research regarding chocolate, most of
which has been featured here on NaturalNews in the past. Gestational hypertension is
physiologically related to some forms of generalized high blood pressure and heart disease
symptoms, which have been shown to be lowered beneficially through chocolate consumption
(especially chocolates based on real cacao).2

This latest study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology at the
University of Iowa College of Public Health and from the Center for Perinatal, Pediatric, and
Environmental Epidemiology at Yale University through grants from the National Institutes of
Health. Subjects from 13 prenatal care practices in Connecticut were recruited and interviews
were conducted within the first sixteen weeks of gestation.

A total of 2,567 women were included in the study, with most of their pregnancies (2,351) being
normal without problems. 158 of the women were diagnosed as GH and 58 were preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a condition in which high blood pressure and protein in the urine develop after
the 20th week of pregnancy. It can lead to serious problems for mother and baby, but instances
of death and serious complication are rare in the U.S. as women are routinely monitored for this
problem during pregnancy.3

In the study, chocolate was more commonly eaten by the normative mothers during pregnancy
than the others (80.7% or 5-15% higher). A control group of women who ate less than 1 serving
of chocolate per week was used for comparison.

First trimester intake of chocolate was associated with an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 0.65 (an
aOR is a number between 0 and 1, the higher the better). This indicates a likely correlation.

Third trimester intake was associated with reduced odds of preeclampsia, but not conclusively
(aOR 0.55) and the study's authors call for more research.

"These findings provide additional evidence of the benefits of chocolate," the study concludes.

This study wasn't the first to examine the positive effects of eating chocolate during pregnancy.
One of the study's authors, Dr. Elizabeth W. Triche (PhD) of Yale University conducted a similar
study in 2008 focused on preeclampsia.4

It's known from other studies (which these studies cite) that the chemical theobromine is found in
cacao-based chocolate. This chemical has many beneficial effects on the heart muscle and
blood vessels. In fact, this latest research adds to the evidence already in hand for chocolate's
benefits during pregnancy.

This is good news for women everywhere and more evidence of the mounting tsunami of proof
that chocolate is good for more than just an occasional treat.
Raw Cacao and Pregnancy: Evidence of lowered risk of pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure,
gestational diabetes, post-partum depression.  Plus! a happier, livelier, less fearful baby.
July 2010

It is a sweet revelation for every mother-to-be.
Pregnant women have the perfect excuse to give in to their cravings - because
chocolate is good for both mother and baby.
Expectant mums who regularly snack on chocolate bars are less likely to develop
pre-eclampsia, according to a study.
One of the most common causes of premature birth in the UK, pre-eclampsia
affects 70,000 British women a year and claims the lives of up to 1,000 babies and
ten mothers.
It is characterised by high blood pressure and can cause convulsions, blood clots,
liver damage and kidney failure.
But after asking 2,500 women about their dietary habits during pregnancy,
researchers from Yale University in the U.S. found that those who consumed
higher rates of chocolatey snacks - including hot chocolate drinks - were less
likely to develop the potentially fatal complication, the journal Annals of
Epidemiology reports.
It is thought that theobromine, the bittertasting chemical in cocoa, keeps blood
pressure steady by helping blood vessels to dilate.
Researchers stressed the results may have been skewed by women being asked
to remember what they had eaten during pregnancy.
The study also failed to examine if the benefits are confined to dark chocolate.
Some research suggests milk or white chocolate does not have the same health
benefits, as they they are higher in sugar and have a lower content of flavanols,
the disease-fighting ingredient in cocoa used to make chocolate.
Early Human Development . 2004 Feb;76(2):139-45.
Sweet babies: chocolate consumption during pregnancy and infant temperament at six months.
Räikkönen K, Pesonen AK, Järvenpää AL, Strandberg TE.
Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 9, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Chocolate contains several biologically active components potentially having behavioral and
psychological consequences.
We tested whether chocolate consumption and stress experiences during pregnancy predict
mother-rated infant temperament at 6 months.
Prenatal frequency of chocolate consumption and intensity of psychological stress experience of
the mothers, and temperament characteristics of the infants 6 months postpartum were evaluated
in 305 consecutive, healthy mother-infant dyads.
Mothers who reported daily consumption of chocolate rated more positively the temperament of
their infants at 6 months. Maternal prenatal stress predicted more negatively tuned ratings of the
infant temperament, particularly among those who reported never/seldom chocolate consumption.
However, this effect was not observed among the mothers reporting weekly or daily chocolate
In addition to producing subjective feelings of psychological well being, chocolate may have
effects at multiple environmental and psychological levels.
PMID: 14757265 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Although we can't advise you on a pregnancy diet, we felt it worth reprinting articles citing benefits of dark chocolate.   
One of several advantages Raw Cacao has over regular dark chocolate - you need
less for a greater benefit.
Especially during pregnancy, an important advantage
Chocolate Strategy foods /drinks have over ordinary dark chocolate -
- no fattening or harmful ingredients off-setting cacao's benefits!