Sweet babies: chocolate consumption during pregnancy and infant temperament at six months

Early Hum Dev. 2004 Feb;76(2):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2003.11.005.


Background: Chocolate contains several biologically active components potentially having behavioral and psychological consequences.

Aims: We tested whether chocolate consumption and stress experiences during pregnancy predict mother-rated infant temperament at 6 months.

Design and subjects: Prenatal frequency of chocolate consumption and intensity of psychological stress experience of the mothers, and temperament characteristics of the infants 6 months postpartum were evaluated in 305 consecutive, healthy mother-infant dyads.

Results: Mothers who reported daily consumption of chocolate rated more positively the temperament of their infants at 6 months. Maternal prenatal stress predicted more negatively tuned ratings of the infant temperament, particularly among those who reported never/seldom chocolate consumption. However, this effect was not observed among the mothers reporting weekly or daily chocolate consumption.

Conclusions: In addition to producing subjective feelings of psychological well being, chocolate may have effects at multiple environmental and psychological levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cacao*
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / physiology
  • Infant Behavior / psychology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Age
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Temperament*