10 Scientific Reasons Pregnant Women Should Eat More Chocolate

We know you're hiding a chocolate bar somewhere in your house ... is it behind the fish sticks in the freezer? Shoved between the pages of your book? Stashed underneath your pillow? Wherever it is, we have good news, ladies: it's time to unapologetically break it out and break off another piece because science itself is telling you that it's okay.

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As it turns out, chocolate is actually really good for your pregnancy and for your future baby ... so eat up and arm yourself with these justifications next time a craving comes along:

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  1. It gets fetuses excited for life. Probably, anyway. Though there's no way to judge an emotional reaction in unborn babies, Italian researchers have confirmed that the heart rate and movements of fetuses increase when pregnant mothers eat chocolate. Not entirely surprisingly, female fetuses tended to have a stronger reaction than the males ... suggesting that women's cravings for chocolate start before we're even born. Explains a lot, right?
  2. Your baby will be happier. Though a happy fetus doesn't necessarily mean a happy baby, it seems that if you eat enough chocolate while you're pregnant, you'll get both. A Finnish study of 300 women concluded that a daily dose of chocolate during pregnancy will increase the odds that you'll have a smiling, happy, and active baby.
  3. Chocolate prevents preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a scary condition that causes your blood pressure to rise rapidly and can seriously harm you and your baby. But tucking into some extra chocolate (especially during your first trimester) has been proven to lower the risk of preeclampsia.
  4. You're less likely to miscarry. Yep, you heard right. In a study of 7,000 women, those who ate chocolate every day were less likely to miscarry by 20 percent.
  5. It'll soothe your cough. It's generally recommended that pregnant women stay far away from traditional cough and cold medicine, which often means fighting the sniffles with rest, fluids, and a heavy dose of grumbling. But good news: chocolate can be used as a 100 percent natural and 100 percent decadent cough suppressant with no negative side effects. 
  6. It will reduce your risk for gestational diabetes. Chocolate contains a kind of antioxidant called flavanol, which has been proven to improve glucose tolerance. The better your glucose tolerance, the less likely you are to develop gestational diabetes. But stick to dark chocolate for this one -- the real power is in the cocoa.
  7. It helps your vascular system deal with extra strain. During pregnancy, you have 50 percent more blood flowing through you than you're used to, and to accommodate for all this, your arteries have to stretch out quite a bit. Chocolate helps keep your arteries flexible and stretchable by fighting atherosclerosis. Thank you, chocolate!
  8. It boosts your weakened immune system. It's pretty well known that pregnancy dampens your immune system to keep your body from turning on the little guy inside of you. The good news is that the antioxidants in chocolate have been proven to have antiviral, antiallergic, and anti-inflammatory properties -- all of which are duties your sub-par immune system isn't performing to its usual standards.
  9. Chocolate is delicious. No scientific study to support this one ... just experience.
  10. It's good for your stress levels. Faced with the seemingly impossible tasks like finding a car seat that hasn't been recalled and trying not to pee every time you laugh, it's totally understandable that you're getting a little stressed. Thankfully, chocolate can help with this, too. It curbs your body's response to stressful stimuli (which was forcing participants to answer math problems in front of an audience for the study ... yeesh) and keeps you more relaxed in these situations.

What is your big pregnancy craving?

 

Image via gpointstudio/shutterstock

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