The Benefits of Chocolate in Pregnancy

The Benefits of Chocolate in Pregnancy

Easter is just around the corner and with Easter comes the magic of an extra long weekend, hat parades, family time and CHOCOLATE!  There’s no denying it, chocolate easter eggs are amazing! 

So in light of the inevitable chocolate overload about to happen, let's chat about the benefits of chocolate and some things to keep in mind especially if you are pregnant. 

There are benefits to eating chocolate? YES, there is scientific research to support the idea that chocolate can have positive effects on both your physical and mental health, as well as your mood. 

A key ingredient in chocolate is cocoa, which contains a number of beneficial compounds, such as flavanols, which have been linked to improved cognitive function and cardiovascular health(1). In addition, chocolate also contains compounds like phenylethylamine and serotonin, which can have mood-boosting effects(2).

Several studies have found that consuming chocolate can improve mood and reduce stress levels. For example, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that consuming dark chocolate improved self-reported mood and cognitive performance in healthy adults(2). Another study published in the International Journal of Health Science found that consumption of 40 g of Dark and Milk chocolate daily during a period of 2 weeks appears to be an effective way to reduce perceived stress in females (3). 

It's worth noting, however, that not all chocolate is created equal…. More on that soon.  

So, is it ok to enjoy chocolate during pregnancy? YES, there is some scientific evidence suggesting that consuming high-quality chocolate during pregnancy may have some potential benefits. 

Such as reduced blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of Maternal Neonatal Medicine suggested that a modest daily intake of high-cocoa-content chocolate contributes to reducing blood pressure, and glycemic and liver patterns during pregnancy without affecting weight gain. (4)

Another study published in the Journal of Epidemiology suggested that chocolate consumption during pregnancy may lower the risk of preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems for both mother and baby (5)

Back to the notion that not all chocolate is created equal! The potential benefits of chocolate consumption in pregnancy (and in general) are likely due to the high levels of flavanols found in high-quality dark chocolate. Milk chocolate and other types of chocolate with lower cocoa content may not provide the same benefits.

It's also important to consume chocolate in moderation, as excessive consumption of chocolate (especially chocolate with added sugar) can lead to weight gain and other health problems. 

Pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider to determine a safe and appropriate amount of chocolate to consume during pregnancy.

So the take home is that there are many benefits to chocolate, for both you and your unborn child, but everything in moderation. 


  1. Nehlig A. The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;75(3):716-27. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04378.x. PMID: 22775434; PMCID: PMC3575938.
  2. Scholey AB, French SJ, Morris PJ, Kennedy DO, Milne AL, Haskell CF. Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2010;24(10):1505-1514. doi:10.1177/0269881109106923
  3. Al Sunni A, Latif R. Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2014 Oct;8(4):393-401. PMID: 25780358; PMCID: PMC4350893.
  4. Di Renzo GC, Brillo E, Romanelli M, Porcaro G, Capanna F, Kanninen TT, Gerli S, Clerici G. Potential effects of chocolate on human pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2012 Oct;25(10):1860-7. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2012.683085. Epub 2012 Jun 5. PMID: 22537244.
  5. Triche EW, Grosso LM, Belanger K, Darefsky AS, Benowitz NL, Bracken MB. Chocolate consumption in pregnancy and reduced likelihood of preeclampsia. Epidemiology. 2008 May;19(3):459-64. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31816a1d17. PMID: 18379424; PMCID: PMC2782959.