Researchers recommend pregnant women should consume chocolate daily as it can be extremely beneficial. Close to 129 pregnant women (between the 11- and 14-week mark) participated in the study.
The participants were divided into two groups at random. One group was given 30 grams per day of low-flavanol chocolate, while the second group was given 30 grams per day of high-flavanol chocolate. The women had to consume these chocolates every day for 12 weeks.
The participants were also tested for pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension before and after the experiment so researchers could compare the data. The team also made note of each woman's blood flow, placental weight and birth weight.
Researchers found no difference in the results between both the groups. However, what they did discover was that there was asignificant improvement in all the participants' blood flow when this data was compared to the general population. "This study indicates that chocolate could have a positive impact on placenta and foetal growth and development and that chocolate's effects are not solely and directly due to flavanol content," study author Emmanuel Bujold told a news portal.
Previous research has also discovered that the Mediterranean diet can lower pregnant women's risk of having children with an accelerated growth pattern by almost 32 per cent. "Mothers with lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet were younger, consumed more calories, and had higher probability of smoking and a lower education and social level, as compared to those women who did follow the diet," study author Sílvia Fernandez, told a news portal. The Mediterranean diet mostly consists of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and nuts.
Because childhood obesity is becoming a huge health crisis, experts urge pregnant women to reduce their intake of sugary beverage. "Emerging evidence suggests that regular consumption of sugary beverages, either by the mother during pregnancy or by the child before age two, may increase a child's risk of obesity later in childhood," Jennifer Woo Baidal, told a news portal. The study's findings were originally published in the Journal of Academic Pediatrics.