Step 1: Go Off Your Birth Control—Ahead of Time
So, whats up with Chocolate if I get pregnant
During pregnancy sometimes cardiovascular complications specific for pregnancy may arise. I’m talking about preeclampsia and gestational hypertension. Preeclamspia is hypertension arising in pregnancy (pregnancy-induced hypertension) in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine. Preeclampsia refers to a set of symptoms rather than any causative factor.
In a recent prospective cohort study women who reported eating chocolate regularly from 1 tot 3 servings per week had a 50% or greater reduced risk of preeclampsia compared to those eating 1 or less servings/week. Moreover,
The greatest rate of preeclampsia (4.5%) occurred among women who did
not regularly consume chocolate in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. In contrast, only women who regularly consumed chocolate during the first trimester had a reduced risk of gestational hypertension.
This publication was sent to me by my distinguished Dutch colleague and medblogger Cryptocheilus
One other previous study came to the same conclusion of the beneficial effects of theobromine, another one didn’t find these benefits with theobromine possibly due to differences in study design and definitions of preeclampsia and theobromine source. Theobromine is found in chocolate and tea.
A lot of possible underlying mechanisms of the cardioprotective properties of chocolate are possible. You can read about these protective underlying mechanisms of chocolate on cardiovascular disease in: How does Chocolate protect the Heart? .
Last month I wrote about a recent review which included 5 studies of adequate quality for inclusion in a recent meta analysis as well as 8 other peer reviewed studies for the effect of cocoa on blood pressure in: Dark Chocolate to prevent Hypertension?.
This study at least suggests a correlation between eating chocolate and the prevention of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension, it doesn’t prove causality. More protective studies are needed.
Saftlas, A., Triche, E., Beydoun, H., & Bracken, M. (2010). Does Chocolate Intake During Pregnancy Reduce the Risks of Preeclampsia and Gestational Hypertension? Annals of Epidemiology, 20 (8), 584-591 DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2010.05.010