You can find out why, and lots of other completely fascinating scientific trivia about pregnancy in Jena Pincott’s entertaining book Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy.
Overall, I found the book quite interesting. I decided early on not to let myself freak out over the implications of epigenetics (the way environmental factors can influence genes) because you could easily get hung up on how many of which vitamin to eat, the pros and cons of soy, and that sort of thing. Instead, I read to find out about some of the current theories and interesting facts.
For example, it turns out that:
- “Pregnesia” is not just in your imagination. Pregnancy hormones actually create a bunch of new connections in your hippocampus, and your brain is so busy trying to sort those out (which makes you better at short-term memory in the long run) that pregnant women often feel like they have brain fog or difficulty keeping track of things.
- Although it’s not always the case, generally speaking women with curvy hips and thinner waists have smarter babies. And bossy women have more boys than girls (I think I’m the statistical outlier on that one).
- Women who eat five or more servings of dark chocolate per week in the third trimester tend to have more easily soothed babies. Women like me who go out and buy a bag of dark chocolates to test this theory and wind up eating three weeks’ worth of it in two days may have different results. 🙂
The thing I found most fascinating was some surprising research about the effect of melatonin exposure on babies in utero. Again, this is statistical evidence, not necessarily true of everyone or in the same degree, but generally speaking babies who are born in November/December tend to be early risers, take risks in their late teens and early 20s but become more conservative in their late 20s and 3os, and enjoy spontaneous travel. On the flip side, babies born in May/June tend to be night owls, conservative in their younger years but become more adventurous in their 30s, and expect good things to just happen to them. I thought that was super interesting given that it’s true of me (early December baby) and also true of my husband and best friend (both May babies).
As with most of the information in the book, I’m not sure what you could actually do with that knowledge, other than say “Aha!” with it, but since I like aha moments, I found the book pretty entertaining.
If you’re pregnant or generally interested in genetics and nature/nurture stuff, you’d probably find Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? and interesting and informative read.
Out of curiosity, if you have kids, did you eat a lot of chocolate while pregnant? If so, did you have outgoing, calm babies? Or, perhaps the sort of woman who can be chill enough to just eat a small piece of chocolate every day without being stressed by the presence of the rest of the chocolate (ahem) pass their chill personalities on to their chill infants. In any case, although I love chocolate, I have to say that neither I nor my babies could ever be classified as “chill” or “calm” by any stretch of the imagination. 🙂 But it’s an interesting observation nonetheless.
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