Sinful 'chocolate' indulgence to protect your baby

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London, Apr 29 (UNI) Eating chocolate during pregnancy could help protect your unborn baby as it prevents pregnancy-induced hypertension, known as pre-eclampsia.

Research showed that women who ate chocolate at least five times a week were 40 per cent less likely to develop the condition than those who consumed it less than once a week.

Pre-eclampsia leads to failure in development of blood vessels in the placenta, which can drive up a woman's blood pressure and reduce the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the foetus. As a result, babies are often born prematurely and many die.

The chemical theobromine, which occurs naturally in chocolate, particularly dark varieties, could be responsible for the protection.

Scientists at Yale University, who studied 2,291 pregnant women, tested the levels of theobromine in the infants' umbilical-cord blood, the Daily Mail reported.

They found that women who consumed the most chocolate and those whose babies had the highest concentration of theobromine were the least likely to develop pre-eclampsia.

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