Pregnant? Time to Indulge Your Chocolate Craving

Don't consume caffeine, alcohol -- the list goes on and on. Fortunately, chocolate is a baby-safe indulgence.

There's always a controversy when you talk about chocolate and pregnancy: after all, chocolate contains caffeine, which experts recommend you avoid during pregnancy, especially the first two trimesters. But the amount of caffeine in chocolate is actually quite small. Armed with that fact, is it okay to indulge that sweet tooth while you're carrying your little bundle of back pain... er, joy?

Fortunately, the answer is a resounding YES. Why resounding? Because studies have shown that chocolate might actually be GOOD for your unborn babe. Yes, you read that right: something good for your baby that doesn't involve the words "prenatal," "vitamins," or "take under medical supervision."

Studies have shown...

There are two important studies involving pregnancy and chocolate. The first comes from the University of Helsinki in Finland (notice how the good news on chocolate always seems to come from overseas?). This study found that women who consumed chocolate while pregnant gave birth to happier children. Their babies were more active and laughed more than women who gave up chocolate altogether.

Of course, they might have also been born chocoholics, but that's beside the point.

The same study took a look at babies born to women under a lot of stress and pressure (and isn't that all of us?). These babies tended to show a lot of fear of new situations. But when women in similarly stressful situations consumed chocolate during pregnancy, their children were calmer and less fearful.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also did a study on pregnancy and chocolate, discovering that daily chocolate consumption reduces the risk of miscarriage. So next time you're shoveling chocolate with both hands and someone says, "Should you be doing that?" You can reply, "I HAVE to. It's for the baby's sake."

Hey, it's a tough sacrifice, but your child is worth it!

Everything in moderation

Okay, let's get serious: this isn't blanket permission to eat a daily king-sized chocolate bar. You know better. But a small amount of chocolate every day when you're pregnant? You bet. Not only have studies shown that it's good for the unborn child, it's good for you: remember, chocolate stimulates positive neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which can help do away with those pregnancy blues (I weigh HOW MUCH?!?)

No matter how you look at it, chocolate seems to be a pregnancy bonus -- one of the only ones you're allowed. So go ahead and enjoy your daily chocolate fix!