In a study titled 'High-flavanol chocolate to improve placental function and to decrease the risk of preeclampsia
In light of previous studies showing conflicting results regarding the role of chocolate consumption during pregnancy and the risk of preeclampsia, this study set out to evaluate the impact of high-flavanol chocolate.
Researchers from the Society of Maternal-Fetal medicine conducted a single-center randomised controlled trial of 129 women with singleton pregnancy between 11 and 14 weeks gestation who had double-notching on uterine artery Doppler.
The pregnant women selected were randomised to either high-flavanol or low-flavanol chocolate. A total of 30 grams of chocolate was consumed daily for 12 weeks and women were followed until delivery. Uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index was at baseline and 12 weeks after randomisation. Preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, placenta weight, and birthweight were also evaluated.
The result was that there was no difference in preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, placental weight or birthweight in the two groups; however, the uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index in both groups showed marked improvement that was much greater than expected in general population.
Researcher Emmanuel Bujold said that this study indicates that chocolate could have a positive impact on placenta and fetal growth and development and that chocolate's effects are not solely and directly due to flavanol content.
The study will be presented at 36th Annual Pregnancy Meeting for Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine on February 4.