Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Medical Praise of Chocolate

My blood pressure has spiked, going from an average of 120/80 or less, to a high today of 143/93 and a low of 133/89. I went online to check whether these numbers warranted bedrest, and I happened upon this great article (see below). Yet another reason to praise God for chocolate!

No sign of preeclampsia, so the doctor may just have me take more readings and report to him if there's another spike. I've been taking it at home throughout the pregnancy. I had preeclampsia in my first pregnancy (post-partum period), and then pregnancy-induced hypertension in the last four weeks of the other two pregnancies. This spike is coming early, possibly just because of my age. I was hoping to avoid bedrest altogether, but we'll see what happens.

My husband HATES grocery shopping, and I hate that he calls me five times while he's in the store. LOL Hopefully, a compromise of partial bedrest will meet with the doctor's approval. That's all I've ever been able to manage anyway, in any of the pregnancies.

One thing blood pressure can effect is fetal weight. All my babies were 11 to 15 days early, with Timmy being the earliest. Daniel was 6.6 pounds and 19 inches, Timothy was 5.9 pounds and 19 inches, and Emily was 5.12 pounds and 19.5 inches. I don't know whether the low weights are due to the blood pressure or not. I was an 8 pound baby myself, while Don was a 6.5 pound baby. I have small bones and am 5'3'' tall, but a small-boned woman doesn't necessarily have a narrower pelvis.

Chocolate may reduce pregnancy complication risk

Updated: 2008-04-29 09:23

NEW YORK -- Indulging in chocolate during pregnancy could help ward off a serious complication known as preeclampsia, new research suggests.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in a chemical called theobromine, which stimulates the heart, relaxes smooth muscle and dilates blood vessels, and has been used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries, Dr. Elizabeth W. Triche of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and colleagues write.

A worker monitors liquid chocolate at PT Bumitangerang Mesindotama, West Java April 18, 2008. Indulging in chocolate during pregnancy could help ward off a serious complication known as preeclampsia, new research suggests. [Agencies]
Preeclampsia, in which blood pressure spikes during pregnancy while excess protein is released into the urine, has many features in common with heart disease, the researchers add.

To investigate whether chocolate's possible cardiovascular benefits also might help prevent preeclampsia, the researchers looked at 2,291 women who delivered a single infant, and asked them about how much chocolate they consumed in their first and third trimesters. The researchers also tested levels of theobromine in infants' umbilical cord blood.

Women who consumed the most chocolate and those whose infants had the highest concentration of theobromine in their cord blood were the least likely to develop preeclampsia. Women in the highest quarter for cord blood theobromine were 69 percent less likely to develop the complication than those in the lowest quarter.

Women who ate five or more servings of chocolate each week in their third trimester of pregnancy were 40 percent less likely to develop preeclampsia than those who ate chocolate less than once a week.

A similar, but weaker, relationship between chocolate consumption and preeclampsia risk was seen in the first trimester, with women eating five or more servings of chocolate each week at 19 percent lower risk than those who ate chocolate less than once a week.

Theobromine could improve circulation within the placenta while blocking oxidative stress, or it could also be a stand-in for other beneficial chemicals found in chocolate, Triche and her team note in the May issue of Epidemiology.

"Our results raise the possibility that chocolate consumption by pregnant women may reduce the occurrence of preeclampsia," they write. "Because of the importance of preeclampsia as a major complication of pregnancy, replication of these results in other large prospective studies with a detailed assessment of chocolate consumption is warranted."

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Evenspor said...

Good luck with the blood pressure. Mine was up and down a lot at the end of my pregnancy with Beeper, but I think it was mostly related to being out of shape and having to climb a long set of stairs to get to my doctor's office. Pre-eclampsia is a scary thought, though.

It is kind of too bad it didn't result in a lower birthweight. Beeper was 9 lbs. :p

Steph said...

Yay for chocolate! Hope you stay well and I'll be thinking about you!