Is chocolate safe to eat when pregnant?

Milk, dark, white - are there any risks with eating chocolate when pregnant?

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In a nutshell

Yes, chocolate is safe – but watch your caffeine, sugar and calorie intake!

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The expert view

We’ve all reached for that creamy, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate fix when pregnant – and it seems it could actually be doing us good!  

The most recent research – from November 2015 – suggests chocolate might actually help expectant mothers and fetuses by producing antioxidants, as well as reducing the stress that could lead to pregnancy complications and reproductive diseases.

The systematic review was carried out by the University of Perugia and published in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry – although experts have suggested more research needs to be done to confirm results – but so far it seems like good news.

“Regularly having a bit of chocolate may actually be beneficial during pregnancy,” says our nutritionist Dr Rana Conway. “There is some suggestion that it could reduce the risks of pre-eclampsia. A study in Finland found that women who ate chocolate during pregnancy had babies who laughed and smiled more often than the babies of non-chocolate eaters.” 

Why you shouldn’t over indulge

But it’s worth remembering though, that as well as being a bar of cocoa deliciousness, chocolate is full of sugar and often high in calories – and it also naturally contains caffeine. 

Consuming high levels of caffeine can result in babies with a low birth weight, while in extreme measures, too much can also cause miscarriage. But in sensible amounts, chocolate is a lovely, safe treat with which to indulge your sweet tooth, or pregnancy craving!   

How much caffeine is in chocolate?

The NHS recommends a maximum of 200mg of caffeine each day, so keeping an eye on intake is definitely worthwhile.

The approximate amount of caffeine found in chocolate is:

  • 50g bar of plain (dark) chocolate: around 50mg
  • 50g bar of milk chocolate: around 25mg
  • White chocolate does not contain caffeine

Mums on our forum say 

“Having lost quite a bit of weight following my bout of flu the doctor I saw at the hospital today advised me to eat chocolate! Hoorah!! Guilt-free indulgence and it is even in my ante-natal notes! However, I won’t go mad, the concept of being prescribed chocolate is a joy but I shall be sensible.” Nicolette

“A lady my mum works with has been hypnotised to stop her eating chocolate and it did work!!! I am seriously considering it.” Nicolamumto3

Read more about a healthy pregnancy…

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