Hot Chocolate During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have found yourself craving a cup of something sweet and warm, you may have wondered, “Can you drink hot chocolate while pregnant?” Below we will talk about hot chocolate’s benefits, risks, and even a homemade recipe for pregnant women looking for a healthy, delicious version. There is also some helpful information on other hot beverages you may have wondered about during pregnancy.
What is Hot Chocolate Made Of?
As the name implies, hot chocolate consists of good quality chocolate whether milk, dark or white. It is combined with other ingredients to make it a hot, liquid drink. The chocolate is shaved or chopped finely and added to hot milk, cream or water and can include flavorings like vanilla or other extracts. It does not normally have sugar added to it. The mixture is sweetened by the chocolate itself or a natural sweetener.
Hot chocolate is the richer and more decadent cousin to hot cocoa. Hot cocoa normally consists of cocoa powder, sugar, and hot milk or water. There are many variations and recipes of hot chocolate to suit every person’s tastes. Let us move on with more information to answer the question: can you drink hot chocolate while pregnant.
Hot Chocolate Health Benefits
The health benefits of hot chocolate stem from the benefits of the cocoa that chocolate is made of. Apart from being delicious, there has been evidence uncovered in studies that cocoa has been shown to:
- Regulate the immune system.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Offer protection to the neurological system, enhance cognition and positive mood.
- Aid in weight loss.
- Lessen allergic responses.
These are just a few of the many benefits of the cocoa that makes up the main ingredient in any hot chocolate recipe. There are many studies and articles you can find online from trusted medical sources to help you learn about all the benefits of cocoa for both pregnant and non-pregnant women.
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Cocoa and Pregnancy
Cocoa is an ingredient that is considered safe in the moderate amounts found in foods. The key to cocoa consumption are the words moderate and moderation. Benefits of cocoa consumption have included decreased risk of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension found in a 2010 study and according to NCBI. This study of over 2,000 pregnancies found when consumed during specific trimesters, there was a lower risk of preeclampsia in the first and third trimesters and a lower risk of gestational hypertension in the first trimester. Great reasons to open up a chocolate bar!
Some of the main concerns of cocoa consumption during pregnancy center around caffeine consumption. Still controversial, there is some evidence and concern that because caffeine crosses into the placenta, high levels of caffeine consumption during pregnancy can result in premature delivery, low birth weight, and miscarriage. Again, this is with high levels of consumption. Caffeine consumption will depend on the product consumed and in what amounts, as levels can vary widely. For example, many chocolate products can range anywhere from 2-35 mg per serving. That is quite a big scale.
Can I Drink Hot Chocolate While Pregnant?
If you are a lover of hot chocolate, you are in luck, because yes, you can drink hot chocolate while pregnant. As discussed above, moderation is key because of the caffeine in chocolate. A typical 6-ounce cup of hot chocolate has approximately 5 mg of caffeine. Comparatively, an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee contains about 2 mg of caffeine. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends 200 milligrams of caffeine or less per day during pregnancy. So, you are definitely safe to enjoy a cup or two of hot chocolate a day.
Is it Safe to Drink Hot Chocolate While Pregnant?
As mentioned previously, there are health benefits to having a cup of hot chocolate or two during your pregnancy as long as you stay aware of your caffeine consumption. Another thing to make sure you monitor is your sugar intake. If you are making a homemade hot chocolate, your sugar intake will be lower as it usually does not include many additional sweeteners.
If you indulge in powdered hot cocoa, you will want to be a little more careful. There is higher sugar content in the beverage.
It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor throughout your pregnancy to check you are not at risk for gestational diabetes when adding more sugary snacks or drinks into your diet during all trimesters.
Hot Chocolate During Pregnancy Risks & Side Effects
Like many other foods and beverages, although there are benefits to drinking hot chocolate, there are also risks and side effects. These are specific to each person and your unique pregnancy. Some risks and side effects of 2010 study are:
- Low birth weight
- Increased gestational weight gain
- Preterm birth
The above risks and side effects are associated mainly with the amount of sugar in sweet drinks. You should pay attention to the sugar in hot chocolate when you make it. Using less sweetener and darker chocolate can reduce these risks. Being aware of what is in your cup can help you answer the question: can you drink hot chocolate while pregnant?
What Hot Drinks Are Safe During Pregnancy?
Several hot drinks are safe to consume during pregnancy. Make sure to track your caffeine and sugar intake, and always double-check herbal teas or drinks to make sure they state they are safe for pregnant women to consume. Most manufacturers will place this right on the label. Below are a few hot drinks that are safe during pregnancy:
- Coffee – Regular or decaffeinated, be aware of your caffeine intake.
- Tea – If caffeinated, make sure to check how much is in a cup. When drinking herbal teas, check the label to make sure it is safe for pregnant women.
- Hot apple cider – This can be fresh or available in packets to add to hot water. Watch for the amount of sugar in the powdered kind.
Can You Drink Hot Water While Pregnant?
It is a question asked by many pregnant women. Many like to enjoy hot water with lemon to start their day or with ginger after a large meal in the evening. Luckily, gynecologists and obstetricians say it is safe to drink hot water while pregnant. They advise using common sense to make sure the water is not too hot as it can cause mouth burns, as it would for non-pregnant women. There are many benefits to pregnant women drinking a warm beverage. Some of these benefits are:
- Aids in digestion and detoxification.
- Less morning sickness.
- Constipation relief.
- Bronchial health maintenance.
- Better hydration.
Can You Drink Hot Tea While Pregnant?
If you are a tea lover, then being able to brew a nice cup of tea during your pregnancy may be something that helps you relax or accompanies your favorite breakfast or dessert. There are so many different kinds of teas. With black, green, herbal, and so many others, it is important to know which are safe and in what amounts you can drink them.
Pay attention to the labels on your tea to check that the caffeine amount is moderate and that all ingredients are pregnancy safe. It is especially important in herbal teas as some herbs, roots, and flowers are unsafe for pregnant women.
Best Hot Chocolate Recipe
All this talk about hot chocolate and asking yourself can you drink hot chocolate while pregnant probably has you craving a cup right now. There are some great recipes online for hot chocolate that are perfect for your pregnancy sweet tooth. One of the most popular recipes can be found here.
Not only is it a delicious hot chocolate recipe, but it also includes homemade marshmallows. It is a healthy and tasty version that even your family and children will love. They will not even miss all the powdered hot cocoas they have had in the past. Follow the recipe below:
- ¼ cup organic, raw cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 4 cups whole milk or non-dairy milk
- A teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- In a saucepan, combine cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add syrup and water, stirring to combine all ingredients.
- Over medium-high heat, continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Add milk while stirring. Do not let the mixture come to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.
Navigating what you should eat and drink while pregnant can feel overwhelming. You are always getting different advice from different people. Advice may differ when asking can you drink hot chocolate while pregnant. Luckily, there are many trusted sources of information available that can help alleviate some of that stress.
Hopefully, this article was able to provide you with some insights into the benefits and risks of hot chocolate consumption, as well as some of the other hot beverages you may have been wondering about too. If you have any questions related to your pregnancy, including food and beverage, you should always speak to your doctor first.