There is nothing better than hearing about another study that proves chocolate is a healthy, safe treat during pregnancy. Valentine’s Day is the holiday of chocolate and according to two studies, chocolate may be more than a tasty sweet treat, for pregnant women. Chocolate may decrease the risk of preeclampsia and help your baby to be happier.

Chocolate may reduce the risk of preeclampsia

For women in the first or third trimester of pregnancy, eating that Valentine’s Day chocolate could have long-term health benefits in the latter stages of gestation. According to a study in the Annals of Epidemiology, women who consumed chocolate during the first trimester and third trimester were at reduced risk of preeclampsia. Women eating chocolate in the first trimester were also at decreased risk of gestational hypertension. The study involved women who received care at one of 13 clinics in Connecticut.

Chocolate consumption linked to happier babies

Do you love dark chocolate? So does your baby. According to a study on 300 women in Finland, eating dark chocolate during pregnancy reduced stress and resulted in happier babies postpartum. The study was limited to dark chocolate, which contains phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine can boost mood for mom, but the chemical also passes to the baby. However, foods like fruits and tomatoes contain more phenylethylamine, so why would other foods not have the same effect on babies?

Some researchers believe it is the feeling of chocolate melting in the mouth that promotes the happy baby syndrome. As the chocolate melts in the mouth, mom feels happy and that happiness passes to the baby. This happiness helps keep mom stress free, which can have a huge impact on pregnancy outcome. Excessive stress levels can lead to anxiety, reduced immune system function, and other pregnancy complications.

So this Valentine’s Day, when you’re looking at that box of chocolates, remember that eating chocolate is not only good for your taste buds, but it also may be good for your pregnancy and baby’s happiness for years to come. Dark chocolate is best, as it contains less sugar than other forms of chocolate, but all chocolates have some benefit for pregnant women.

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Audrey F. Saftlas PhD, MPH; Elizabeth W. Triche PhD; Hind Beyhoun PhD, MPH; Michael B. Bracken PhD, MPH. Annals of Epidemiology. August 2010.
New Scientist. Chocolatey pregnancy keeps baby happy. April 10, 2004.