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Chocolate Cuts Life-Threatening Risks During


A study has suggested that eating chocolate at least three times a week can help reduce life-
threatening conditions from developing in pregnant women.

The study found that women who regularly eat chocolate are less likely to suffer from pre-
eclampsia, one of the most common causes of complications during pregnancy, the Telegraph

Pre-eclampsia can cause pregnancy complications after blood vessels in the placenta fail to
develop. The major symptom of the condition is elevated blood pressure in the mother.

The condition also affects the unborn child by disrupting the transfer of nutrients, leading to
premature birth and other complications.

Researchers at Yale University in the US questioned 2500 women on their dietary habits during
pregnancy as part of the study.

Nearly half the women who did not develop high blood pressure reported that they had eaten
chocolate regularly.

The research is due to be published in the American journal Annals of Epidemiology.

Ramadan Fasting During Pregnancy Puts Babies'
Health at Risk
A new study by scientists in the United States has revealed that pregnant Muslim women who
fast during Ramadan are likely to have smaller babies who will be more prone to learning
disabilities in adulthood.

The researchers also found that the women were 10 per cent less likely to give birth to a boy if
they had fasted during Ramadan

The trend was clearest if the fasting was done early in the women’s pregnancy, and during the
summer months, when long hours of daylight called for them to go longer without food.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time when Muslims across the world
fast from dawn until sunset.

Since fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a central part of Muslim
culture, many women may fear a loss of connection with their communities or would feel guilty
if they did not observe Ramadan.

The study, which used census data from the US, Iraq and Uganda, also discovered long-term
effects on the adult’s health and his or her future economic success.

"We generally find the largest effects on adults when Ramadan falls early in pregnancy," the
Independent quoted Douglas Almond, of Columbia University, and Bhashkar Mazumder, of the
Federal Research Bank of Chicago, the authors of the research, as saying.

"Rates of adult disability are roughly 20 per cent higher, with specific mental disabilities
showing substantially larger effects. Importantly, we detect no corresponding outcome
differences when the same design is applied to non-Muslims," they added.
Alcohol in pregnancy may harm sons' sperm

Mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may be damaging the fertility of their future sons, a
study by Danish scientists said on Tuesday.

The researchers found that if mothers had drunk 4.5 or more drinks a week while pregnant, the
sperm concentration of their sons — measured about 20 years later — was a third lower than in
men who were not exposed to alcohol while in the womb.

The study by scientists at the University of Aarhus in Denmark was presented at the conference
of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome. A drink was measured
as 12 grams of alcohol, equivalent to one 330 ml can of beer, one small (120 ml) glass of wine or
one shot (40 ml) of spirits.

"Our study shows that there is an association between drinking a moderate amount of alcohol
during pregnancy and lower sperm concentrations in sons," said Cecilia of Aarhus's department
of occupational medicine, who led the research.

But she noted that because the study was an observational one, the scientists could not say for
certain whether the alcohol intake was a cause of the lower sperm concentrations.

"It is possible that drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a harmful effect on the fetal semen-
producing tissue in the testes — and thereby on semen quality in later life — but our study is the
first of its kind, and more research within this area is needed before any causal link can be
established or safe drinking limits proposed," she said in a report of her study.

If, however, the findings are replicated in future studies, that may help explain why semen
quality has dropped in recent decades, and why it is better in some nations than others.