Good freaking news: Chocolate is good for you and your fetus when you’re expecting.
Research conducted by the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine revealed that chocolate can reduce risk of preeclampsia. The late-term disorder is most common after 20 weeks and is commonly characterized by a spike in blood pressure. If untreated, the condition can lead to serious complications for both a mother and her baby.
Luckily, chocolate has again come to the rescue. It is was previously thought that only chocolate high in flavanol—a compound of cocoa linked to other health benefits such as reduced blood pressure—would help protect against preeclampsia. However, the cited study found that women who consumed both normal chocolate and high-flavanol chocolate showed “an improvement in blood flow much greater than expected in the general population.”
To arrive at this conclusion, researchers measured gestational hypertension, placenta weight, and birth weight, as well as blood flow before the study and after a set period. According to researcher Emmanuel Bujold, “chocolate could have a positive impact on placenta and fetal growth,” which suggest that “development and chocolate’s effects are not solely and directly due to flavanol content.”
This good news comes just in time for Valentine’s Day, though now there’s a science-backed reason to enjoy that gourmet chocolate truffle any time of year.