For many women, pregnancy is a period marked by constant cravings.

They desire pickles and spicy food, as well as salty treats and chocolate.

And, luckily for those women, scientists have revealed chocolate actually provides health benefits during pregnancy.

High-flavanol chocolate can boost fetal growth and make the placenta more efficient, according to a new study.

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It also decreases the risk a dangerous pregnancy complication called preeclampsia, claimed scientists from Université Laval Québec City.

Previous studies have produced conflicting results regarding the role of chocolate consumption in pregnancy and the risk of preeclampsia.

As a result, a team of scientists set out to evaluate the impact of high-flavanol chocolate specifically.

The study was a randomized control trial of 129 women with single pregnancies between 11 and 14 weeks gestation.

All of the women had double-notching on the uterine artery Doppler.

The pregnancy women were selected to either eat high-flavanol or low-flavanol chocolate.

They consumed a total of 30 grams of chocolate daily for 12 weeks.

The team followed those women until delivery.

The women’s uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index remained at baseline and at 12 weeks after randomization, according to the team.

Uterine artery Doppler pulsatility index is a marker of the blood velocity in the uterine, placental and fetal circulations.

The scientists also evaluated preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, placenta weight and birthweight in the women.

The study found that there was no difference in preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, placenta weight or birthweight in the two groups.

However, the uterine Doppler pulsatility index in both groups showed marked improvement.

Study co-author Dr Emmanual Bujold, of Université Laval Québec City, said: ‘This study indicates that chocolate could havea positive impact on placenta and getal growth and development and that chocolate’s effects are not solely and directly due to flavanol content.’

Source: Dailymail