Can I Drink Hot Chocolate During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Hot chocolate is an amazing comfort drink that’s popular all around the world. It’s delicious, warm, and soothing – and serves as a perfect way to start or end a long day.

But having a baby on the way changes your situation a lot. You might think to yourself, “Can I have hot chocolate while pregnant?” Will you have to drop the habit for nine long months?

You can drink hot chocolate while pregnant – just not all you want! The cocoa itself contains a bit of caffeine and theobromine, which are both stimulants. In moderation, this is fine.

Also, not all hot chocolate is created equal: some contain extra additives like sweeteners, flavorings, and even artificial food coloring. You can usually have one cup of warm cocoa, but be sure to pay close attention to the ingredients list before indulging!

So while you can drink hot chocolate while pregnant, there are a lot of factors you must be mindful of. We’ll go over those limits, explain why they’re important, and go over what happens when they’re disregarded in the next heading.

Can I Drink Hot Chocolate While Pregnant?

Cocoa

cocoa

Hot chocolate is a great treat, but you always want to purchase high-quality, top-shelf brands when you’re pregnant. This minimizes the risk of problematic additive ingredients, but we’ll go over the cocoa itself here first.

Cocoa contains some stimulant products – notably caffeine and theobromine. The concentration of this does vary between hot cocoa brands, but generally, a 5-ounce serving of hot cocoa has 4mg of caffeine and 65mg of theobromine. Keep in mind that this assumes you’re using dark chocolate.

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That’s not much at all. For reference, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women keep their caffeine intake below 200mg. Theobromine, on the other hand, needs to hit 250mg just to start skewing your mood a bit!

In summary, you can drink a cup of hot cocoa while pregnant! Maybe even two cups! The biggest risk, at least in terms of the cocoa itself, is that you might fill yourself up on it, giving your tummy less space to pack away more nutritious food and drinks!

If you’re still drinking coffee, tea, or soft drinks though, it would be wise to keep tabs on your total caffeine intake. Too much of it is bad for your baby, and even an extra 4mg can make a difference!

Other Ingredients

Hot cocoa is fine for pregnant women, but you need to know about the filler ingredients used. Hot cocoa is generally made of three ingredients: cocoa powder, sweeteners, and milk or creamers. Some manufacturers also make use of other flavorings or even food dyes in their products.

While the research on how these components directly impact the fetus is mixed and somewhat controversial, their addition means that there’s less cocoa in the drink overall – making it harder to track your total cocoa intake.  

Sweeteners

What we can confirm, though, is that plentiful sugar or other artificial sweetener has been linked to gestational weight gain or even gestational diabetes for the child.

While cocoa may not have as much caffeine as coffee, it’s almost as bitter on its own. If it tastes sweet, there’s a very good chance your drink is loaded with a concerning amount of sugar!

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When considering other popular beverages such as bubble tea, pregnant women are advised to tread with caution. Not only can it have elevated sugar and caffeine contents, but there’s also a veil of uncertainty surrounding the safety of certain ingredients, like tapioca pearls, particularly during the critical phases of pregnancy.

Milk

milk on cocoa

Milk is a fine addition to a good cup of hot cocoa that pregnant women can enjoy, and even provides important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium for you and your little one.

Pregnant women are usually better off using non-fat or low-fat milk for their hot chocolate. While whole milk might taste better, it’s also filled with saturated fats – which have been linked to cases of gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and even pre-term births.

Final Thoughts

So, can you drink hot chocolate while pregnant? Absolutely! Pure, dark cocoa is fine on its own – just be a little more mindful if you’re taking other sources of caffeine too (coffee, tea, etc.)

The bigger issues are the additives and other materials being used. Always try to scrounge up the full list of ingredients (along with their quantities) in your hot chocolate brand of choice. Keep sugar and artificial sweetener use to a minimum, and stick with low-fat milk as much as possible.

Finally, be sure to consult your doctor. This guide only aims to provide a general set of pointers, and you’ll be better off getting more specific advice from someone fully aware of your situation.

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