Imagine this; it’s a cold, snowy day and all you crave is a warm cup of hot chocolate. But wait, your little one is right in there and you aren’t sure if it’s going to be okay.
You’re always hearing about advices about what to eat and what not to eat, and this makes you question yourself even when it comes to enjoying your favorite drink.
But this post is for you. Is drinking hot chocolate safe during pregnancy? Can it harm your baby? Are there any benefits? We’ll answer these questions (and more) as we delve into the intriguing topic of hot chocolate and pregnancy.
Ingredients of hot chocolate drink
- Cocoa powder
- Optional toppings: including whipped cream,marshmallows or chocolate shavings.
- Chocolate chunks
Some recipes may also include brown sugar, dark chocolate and heavy whipping cream.
What’s the nutritional facts of hot chocolate drink?
The nutritional value of a cup of hot cocoa drink may vary based on the brand you’re getting, the ingredients used and the preparation method. However, a typical serving contains;
- Calories: 221
- Total fat: 3.4g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1g
- Carbs: 38.3g
- Fiber: 1.2g
- Sugar: 32.8g
- Protein: 9.4g
It is important to know that these nutritional values vary between homemade cocoa or chocolate recipes and commercially prepared ones.
Variations can range from additional ingredients like whipped cream, syrups and other sweeteners. That said, you should check the recipe you are getting for its nutritional information as these values are general estimates.
Is it safe to drink hot chocolate during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe for pregnant women to drink hot chocolate but only in small to medium quantities. This drink offers benefits such as rehydration and providing nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy.
While there is caffeine in chocolate or cocoa, the amount present is usually very small and won’t trigger any serious effects to expectant mothers.
However, you should note that, drinking too much will increase your caffeine dosage and pose risks to your health. As such, it is advised that you check your intake.
Also, you should be mindful on the sugar content. If you can take your chocolate drinks without sugar, then that’s a plus.
If not, then you should only add very little sugar because too much sugar can increase your risk to obesity and gestational diabetes.
What are the health benefits of hot chocolate drink?
Drinking cocoa drinks in its right amount can potentially offer some health benefits during pregnancy including;
Healthy development of the baby
If you prepare your hot chocolate with milk, then you can be sure of fortifying you body with sufficient amount of calcium. Calcium is required to help with the development of your baby’s bones and gum cavity.
It also helps develop its muscle, nerves and heart. A cup of homemade chocolate drink provides about 285 mg of calcium, sufficient to support you the mom in quick blood clotting and bone health.
Enhances mood and relieves stress
Drinking cocoa also promotes a feeling of wellness by reducing stress. Chocolate contains compounds that stimulate the production of “feel good” hormones in your brain.
Feel good hormones contributes immensely to positive emotions and moods which are very necessary during pregnancy.
Increased iron absorption
Cocoa powder in chocolate drinks has been shown to enhance iron absorption from other foods you take. Iron is very important during pregnancy because you require it to make more blood to supply your baby with oxygen.
So while its important to consume iron-rich foods, it is equally necessary to improve its absorption into your bloodstream. Sip warm chocolate once a while to help it.
Protects body cells
Dark chocolate in your hot tea or beverage will also provide antioxidants necessary in protecting body cells that is caused by free radicals.
Improved blood flow
Some studies suggests that consuming a small amount of dark chocolate few times a week may increase blood flow to the foetus. Increased blood flow to your baby promotes its healthy growth and development.
Why am I craving hot chocolate drink while pregnant?
Are you overly craving cocoa tea lately and wondering why this’s happening? Watch out for the following reasons:
Pregnancy comes about with several hormones that works to ensure healthiness in your journey and sometimes these hormones trigger hormonal changes that affects your tastes and senses.
This can be the reason why you consistently crave for certain foods and drinks like hot chocolate. Note that, these cravings could be different from pica. Pica is where a pregnant woman overly craves for non-food and nutritionally vague items.
Craving hot chocolate can also mean your body lacks some nutrients and it needs you restore them. For example, you could be calcium deficit and not even know.
However, your body’s mechanism can make you crave such foods like chocolate drinks, tea, puddings and the milk which can replenish your stores and correct calcium deficiency.
Hot chocolate provides a sweet, warmth and soothing feeling, which can make you very comfortable and active.
While its okay to indulge in cravings occasionally, its necessary that you rather work on maintaining a balanced diet for you and your little one.
If you suspect your cravings getting out of control or making you put on extra weight, its best to talk to your obstetrician or dietician about it.
How Much Hot Chocolate Can I Drink While Pregnant
There isn’t any specified amount of chocolate to consume for pregnant mothers but I advise that you take small quantities just so you don’t overindulge.
Nonetheless, per the current consensus on caffeine intake during pregnancy, it has been advised that pregnant women take no more than 200mg of caffeine daily.
Hot chocolate contains caffeine with the average cup serving containing 95mg of it. Staying within this recommended limit of 200 mg per day is the ideal way to reduce potential risks that may come with caffeine intake during pregnancy.
When making this tea, two things to consider most is the type of cocoa and the sugar content. Always choose dark cocoa powder as it is the best cocoa type with the minimal caffeine content. It is also less sweet, therefore, reducing the amount of sugar in your serving.
Also when taking hot chocolate from cafes including starbucks, ask them to reduce the additional flavors or syrups as they come with added sugars and are unhealthy.
Talk to your doctor if you exceedingly crave chocolate tea and suspect symptoms of pica.
Is hot chocolate good for morning sickness during pregnancy?
Hot chocolate may provide some nutrition and comfort when having frequent morning sickness in pregnancy.
When you take hot sips of your favorite chocolate, you can have a sense of comfort during a time when you’re not feeling well.
But beyond the basic nutrition and comfort, there isn’t any scientific evidence that suggests that this drink will directly treat morning sickness in pregnancy.
Most doctors and sources rather recommend taking Vitamin B6 supplements or ginger, when looking for natural ways to help it.
You can drink and enjoy hot chocolate while pregnant but as discussed, only take in little amounts. Caffeine intake above 200mg is harmful and risky to your baby.
As with any dietary decision during pregnancy, it has always been best to discuss with your doctor for advise on specific health needs.
They can provide guidance on the actual ingredients to incorporate in your drink with regards to your current health condition.