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Sweet babies: chocolate consumption during pregnancy and infant temperament at six months.
Background: Chocolate contains several biologically active components potentially having behavioral and psychological consequences.
Aims: We tested whether chocolate consumption and stress experiences during pregnancy predict mother-rated infant temperament at 6 months.
Design and subjects: 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.
Results: 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 consumption.
Conclusions: In addition to producing subjective feelings of psychological well being, chocolate may have effects at multiple environmental and psychological levels.
Chocolate consumption in pregnancy and reduced likelihood of preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a major pregnancy complication with cardiovascular manifestations. Recent studies suggest that chocolate consumption may benefit cardiovascular health.
Methods: We studied the association of chocolate consumption with risk of preeclampsia in a prospective cohort study of 2291 pregnant women who delivered a singleton livebirth between September 1996 and January 2000. Chocolate consumption was measured by self report in the first and third trimesters, and by umbilical cord serum concentrations of theobromine, the major methylxanthine component of chocolate. Preeclampsia was assessed by detailed medical record review for 1943 of the women. We derived adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from logistic regression models controlling for potential confounders.
Results: Preeclampsia developed in 3.7% (n = 63) of 1681 women. Cord serum theobromine concentrations were negatively associated with preeclampsia (aOR = 0.31; CI = 0.11–0.87 for highest compared with lowest quartile). Self-reported chocolate consumption estimates also were inversely associated with preeclampsia. Compared with women consuming under 1 serving of chocolate weekly, women consuming 5+ servings per week had decreased risk: aOR = 0.81 with consumption in the first 3 months of pregnancy (CI = 0.37–1.79) and 0.60 in the last 3 months (0.30–1.24).
Conclusions: Our results suggest that chocolate consumption during pregnancy may lower risk of preeclampsia. However, reverse causality may also contribute to these findings.