Until recently advised avoidance but moms-to-be can relax now and actually enjoy the chocolate they eat in pregnancy instead of feeling guilty. Yale University researchers have found that eating chocolate can protect an unborn baby by helping prevent pregnancy-induced hypertension known as pre-eclampsia.

Those pregnant women who consume chocolate at least five times a week were found to be 40 % less likely to develop pre-eclampsia than those who eat it less than once a week. Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous disorder that leads to failure of blood vessels development, driving a woman's blood pressure up and reducing the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the foetus. Pre-eclampsia leads to prematurely born babies and death.

The researchers believe that the chemical that naturally occurs in chocolate, especially dark chocolates, theobromine could be responsible for this protection. So, they decided to look at 2,291 pregnant women and test the levels of theobromine in their infants' umbilical-cord blood.

They found that the women who consumed the most chocolate had babies with the highest concentration of theobromine and that they were the less likely to develop pre-eclampsia than those who did not have chocolate.

Due to the major complication pre-eclampsia causes, further studies are warranted on the impact of chocolate on the pre-eclampsia incidence.