Thursday, May 1, 2008


“STOP THE PRESSES!” Anyone who can place the movie gets a huge prize. And by prize, I mean a *huge* virtual preggo hug. Here is the actor connected to the quote:

(Bonus points for anyone who can tell me who "played" his "twin" in the movie, and what the name of the stolen gem was.)

My doting husband dropped a bomb on me yesterday--a big, dark chocolate, delicious, theobromine bomb. Before your mind goes straight to the commode, let me assuage your fears in that the topic is not W.C. related (that was first trimester fodder, folks). Epidemiology is publishing the following study in their May 2008 edition:

Chocolate Consumption in Pregnancy and Reduced Likelihood of Preeclampsia

As a responsible public health champion, I am including reference information and an abbreviated abstract so that all my other public health peeps don’t think I am delusional and wrote this on my own in some sort of insomniactic rage. Although, I am delusional in that I made up the word "insomniactic." I am not adhering to any sort of reference style (I have had enough of AMA and APA), and am adding my own commentary in black italics. Tres professional, eh? (There I go again, pretending to know French.)

Chocolate Consumption in Pregnancy and Reduced Likelihood of Preeclampsia
Triche EW, Grosso LM, Belanger K, Darefsky AS, Benowitz NL, Bracken MB
From the aYale Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT; bDivision of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; and cDivision of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of California, San Francisco, CA.

BACKGROUND: Preeclampsia is a major pregnancy complication with cardiovascular manifestations. (The fear of becoming preeclamptic can send a hormonal preggo into extreme fits of anxiety, looking for any sign of kidney failure—swollen face, hands, feet, and extreme headaches or spotty vision…) Recent studies suggest that chocolate consumption may benefit cardiovascular health.(The recent study suggestions are immediately embraced as undeniable truths by any hypertensive preggo who has been told to steer clear of chocolate due to the potential for the caffeinated properties to encourage an increase in blood pressure.)

METHODS: We studied the association of chocolate consumption with risk of preeclampsia in a prospective cohort study of 2291 pregnant women who delivered a singleton livebirth between September 1996 and January 2000. (Just know that the study design is not the ideal randomized controlled trial, but that the study sample is pretty large, and the study period is relatively good in length. How did they recruit for this study, and where can I sign up?) Chocolate consumption was measured by self report in the 1st and 3rd trimesters, and by umbilical cord serum concentrations of theobromine, the major methylxanthine component of chocolate. (Self report isn’t the strongest measurement, but the umbilical cord serum is a much more concrete, less subjective measurement. I believe that theobromine levels are higher in dark chocolate, too.) Preeclampsia was assessed by detailed medical record review for 1943 of the women. We derived aOR and 95% CIs from logistic regression models controlling for potential confounders. (Don't worry about understanding adjusted odds ratios and confidence intervals. Trust me that they did the right kind of stats for the measurement.)

RESULTS: Preeclampsia developed in 3.7% (n = 63) of 1681 women. Cord serum theobromine concentrations were negatively associated with preeclampsia (aOR = 0.31; CI = 0.11-0.87 for highest compared with lowest quartile). (Basically, eating chocolate during pregnancy may not be such a bad thing after all.) Self-reported chocolate consumption estimates also were inversely associated with preeclampsia. (Hallelujah!) Compared with women consuming under 1 serving of chocolate weekly, women consuming 5+ servings per week had decreased risk: aOR = 0.81 with consumption in the first 3 months of pregnancy (CI = 0.37-1.79) and 0.60 in the last 3 months (0.30-1.24). (Not only is consuming chocolate negatively associated with preeclampsia, but the suggestion is that a good 5 servings a week is potentially advisable!)

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that chocolate consumption during pregnancy may lower risk of preeclampsia. (Hooray!) However, reverse causality may also contribute to these findings. (Let’s just ignore the “may” and this last sentence.)

You may be thinking I am just chocolate crazy. In fact, I am really not that obsessed with chocolate at all, but when something is taken away from you, you find yourself wanting it more. It’s the way I feel about exercise (and my pre-pregnant body) right now. I have never wanted to break out into a full on sprint on a walk before, but have found myself itching to bolt during my walks and run even just for 100 yards to remind myself of what running feels like. Don't worry Mom! I am not going to do that. (I know you would be worried with my admitting this.)

I am in no way interested in going to the local wholesale club and stock piling my pantry with chocolate, but I would just like to enjoy an occasional bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream without having my doctor scold me. In all honesty, I really do enjoy dark, DARK chocolate; just a square at night now and then will satisfy my palate. I have been cleaning up my diet to reflect the way I ate prior to becoming pregnant and being sick for 18 weeks, so this “no chocolate” phase hasn’t been a terrible thing, but now that there may be some protective effects associated with the dark delight, I think I’ll introduce small amounts back into my diet.

Life is all about moderation…(and patience).


-Eric and I have received an unexpected gift from my parents...originating with my grandparents. This was actually a 2nd unexpected gift of this kind, and we decided that we need to "pay it forward" and will be using the majority of it to both donate to organizations we feel passionate about (we immediately called NPR with a donation--how coincidental that it is their spring drive!), and figure out other unique and meaningful ways we can"pay it forward" in the world. We feel thankful that although not swimming in our own coin vaults like Scrooge McDuck, we are able to take a step back, and really think about how we are going to distribute this gift to others.

-I am thankful that my husband's track season is coming to an end. He leaves me again for 2 days for a state meet, but will be back this weekend. I love how dedicated he is to his coaching, but my patience with sending him off for a few nights is wearing thin. I admit it!

Nixed Names: There was some confusion from my last post. The 2 remaining names have never been uttered on these posts. Emery and Eli were the last "nixed names." As I explained in one of my comments, we have 2 pairs of names...let's say "A" first name with "B" middle name (1st part to the pair) and "C" first name with "D" middle name (2nd part to the pair). A,B,C,D are not arranged in ANY OTHER WAY. So, we have 2 names...get it? Both names are a first and middle. So, now we'll do clues instead of nixed names:

1. Of the 4 individual names (remember, we really have 2 choices / pairs, but there are 4 names total), 2 of them start with the same letter. And NONE of them start with a vowel.


  1. I got this..
    1. Great Muppet Caper
    2. Kermit is is twin
    3. Baseball Diamond


  2. woohoo for chocolate! i saw yesterday that have pregnancies rich in nutrients has been linked to an increased "chance" of having a male. now i can't remember which journal i saw it in....

  3. I read that article that Amy mentioned, and it says eating cereal in particular ups the chance of having a boy. I have to wonder, then, how my mom managed 3 girls and 1 boy...

  4. Yay, Tracey with the Muppet movie trivia!
    I would like to volunteer for a self reporting study on the consumption of dark, dark chocolate 7 days a week for menopausal women...!