Article

Does chocolate intake during pregnancy reduce the risks of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension?

Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, USA.
Annals of epidemiology (Impact Factor: 2.95). 08/2010; 20(8):584-91. DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2010.05.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Chocolate consumption is associated with favorable levels of blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk markers. We analyzed a prospective cohort study to determine whether regular chocolate intake during pregnancy is associated with reduced risks of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension (GH).
Subjects were recruited from 13 prenatal care practices in Connecticut (1988-1991). In-person interviews were administered at <16 weeks' gestation to ascertain risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Hospital delivery and prenatal records were abstracted to classify preeclampsia (n = 58), GH (n = 158), and normotensive pregnancies (n = 2351). Chocolate consumption (servings/week) during the first and third trimesters was ascertained at initial interview and immediately postpartum, respectively. Consumers of less than 1 serving/week comprised the referent group. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) were estimated by the use of logistic regression.
Chocolate intake was more frequent among normotensive (80.7%) than preeclamptic (62.5%) or GH women (75.8%), and associated with reduced odds of preeclampsia (first trimester: aOR, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.32-0.95; third trimester: aOR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32-0.97). Only first trimester intake was associated with reduced odds of GH (aOR,0.65; 95% CI, 0.45-0.87).
These findings provide additional evidence of the benefits of chocolate. Prospective studies are needed to confirm and delineate protective effects of chocolate intake on risk of preeclampsia.

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