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Cacao during pregnancy

Cacao as a companion to pregnancy & lactation

'I felt very strongly how the cacao plant nourishes me, that it was like an elixir of life for me. (...) Because as a mother (...) I hold space for my baby (...) I found it nice to have a guardian by my side, in this case the cacao plant.'

Pregnancy - for many women a time that carries a very special magic. The connection to one's own body intensifies and the care for oneself and the child have top priority. A rich and balanced diet takes on an important role in enabling the unborn child to develop as well as possible in preparation for independent life as a citizen of the earth.

While there is much scientifically proven evidence about which nutrients are particularly essential for mother and child during pregnancy and lactation, there is always debate about the advisability of some foods.

Since ceremonial cacao is a central part of our lives and everyday life, and since we repeatedly come into contact with the topic of pregnancy and cacao through various people, it was on our minds to take a deeper look at this hitherto little illuminated topic. To dive into the scientific perspective of the topic, we first looked at various studies. We then sought direct contact with pregnant and breastfeeding women to ask them about their experiences with cocoa consumption.


A common inhibiting factor for the consumption of cacao during pregnancy is the fact that it contains small amounts of caffeine. If the mother consumes caffeine during pregnancy, it passes through the placenta and can thus have an influence on the condition and development of the embryo. In addition, it takes longer for caffeine to be metabolized in the body of a pregnant woman. For these reasons, it is often advised to avoid excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

But what exactly does excessive mean? How much caffeine is safe for me and my child? The answer from the European Food Safety Authority is: 200 mg of caffeine per day. This is, of course, a guideline and should be weighed individually according to factors such as body weight, sensitivity, etc.

To put this in perspective: 200 mg of caffeine is equivalent to 400 ml of filter coffee. One cup (200 ml) of our Suyana Ceremonial Blend contains just 8 mg of caffeine. The exact amount depends on the particular cacao variety and can increase up to about 35 mg for more intense characters (1).

But why does cacao still have a stimulating effect? The active ingredient theobromine is mainly responsible for this. This substance has a milder, but longer-lasting stimulating effect than caffeine (2).

Studies have shown that theobromine can even have a positive effect on pregnant and nursing women. For example, a Yale University studyshows that the consumption of theobromine during pregnancy is associated with a lower likelihood of preeclampsia (high blood pressure with other side effects such as seizures). This association is supported by a study by Saftglas et al . Thus, in a comparative study, among pregnant women with normal blood pressure, there were more people who consumed chocolate than in a group with hypertension problems.

Furthermore, cacao contains many minerals particularly important for pregnancy, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and small amounts of folic acid and iodine (3, 4, 56It contains many of the B vitamins essential for mother and child, as well as vitamins A, C, D, and E (5).

Based on this body of data and our conclusion that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with moderate consumption of cacao during pregnancy from a scientific perspective, we wanted to hear about practical experiences with cacao during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, we exchanged views with women who have already had the opportunity to gather their own experiences and insights in this regard.


We interviewed a total of seven women on the subject. Some of them were still pregnant at the time of the interview, others were already breastfeeding. For all of the women, cacao was already an important part of their lives before they became pregnant, so they were familiar with the effects of the medicinal plant. The way cacao was integrated into everyday life differed slightly. For some of the women, drinking cacao remained an everyday ritual, as it had been before pregnancy, so they had a small or medium dose of cacao every day to start their day or to consciously take time out and connect with themselves, their hearts, and their babies. Others of them celebrated their cacao ritual intuitively about 2-4 times a week. One of the women reported that she found the drinking to be especially nice in combination with yoga and meditations to prepare for birth. One woman even drank cacao right before and after birth. Another of them initially took a little distance from cacao in the first months of pregnancy, as she did not feel much desire and the effect was strongly noticeable for her after only 1-2 sips. From the 6th month of pregnancy, however, this has changed, so that she drank cacao more regularly again and also tolerated it well. Another woman also tells us that her desire for cacao changed during pregnancy. She listened strongly to her intuition and therefore hardly drank any cacao in the last trimester, but drank more in the first trimesters. In addition to the specially created ritual, some of the women also participated in group cocoa ceremonies during their pregnancies.

'During pregnancy I had a lot of desire for cacao (...), I totally trusted myself, also regarding the dose, I had no doubts at all, no fears that it wouldn't go together - cacao and pregnancy - on the contrary, I felt very nourished there and made the dose according to feeling, meaning: I reduced it, I didn't have the feeling that I needed a lot, but I took it regularly'.


Participants reported that they felt a lot of energy and liveliness from the cacao. Especially during periods of sluggishness and fatigue, cacao served as a good source of nutrients that could induce a feeling of being nourished, like an "elixir of life." Not only during pregnancy, but also during breastfeeding, one could noticeably benefit from the nutrients, as one gives a lot of oneself during that time - sleep, breast milk and love. For one woman in particular, cacao played a role in helping her deal with emerging doubts and fears, especially at the beginning of pregnancy. In her cacao rituals, she was able to repeatedly go into her heart and open it, enter a deep state of meditation to find clarity for herself and about her situation, and always go back to trust. In addition, she was able to meet emerging stress with calmness, to brace herself for everyday life, and thus to bring more love and warmth into her family's daily life. Two women tell of how the cacao was able to provide more clarity, grounding and presence, and gave a calming feeling. Increased vitality and sensuality were also mentioned.


'A heart opener that just makes you happy and gets you into a positive energy very quickly.'
'For me, cacao is the warming embrace in the morning through which I experience strength, positive emotions and grounding.' Especially in the transformative but challenging months of pregnancy and breastfeeding, we need wisdom and an opened heart space more than ever. This is what cacao has given me whenever I've needed it. It has given me strength, warmth, love, energy, positive thoughts, nutrients and balance. A real medicine of the soul, in fact.'
'I notice that through the cacao I just get a bit more into my fullness and my strength, but also the connection to the heart always becomes super strong, so from there the heart connection and also the connection to the baby, because you can already feel the baby's heartbeat.'
'Here's also my encouragement to other breastfeeding women to take the minutes in the morning and connect with cacao. And don't be afraid of hyper babies either, because up to 200 ml of caffeinated drinks a day, preferably during or right after breastfeeding, is not problematic. Watch your little one's reactions, of course.'


For many of the women, the effect of the cacao was comparable to the effect before pregnancy/breastfeeding. However, the consensus is that they were more sensitive and felt the cacao more quickly. Accordingly, they automatically consumed less cacao to experience a similar strong effect as before this particular time. One of the women shared that she had a strong feeling of letting the cacao plant accompany her during pregnancy. Moreover, her intention was different; her heart was already very open and she already had a good access to her feelings. She adds:

'It gave me more of a sense of holding and being nurtured, because as a mother, the moment I'm pregnant, I'm already holding space for my baby, carrying and tending the baby, and so I thought it was nice to have a guardian by my side, in this case the cacao plant.'


Some of the women reported that cacao did not noticeably change their connection to their child because it was already very much there anyway. The women tell that cacao gave them the familiar feeling of well-being and they are sure that their child perceived this. Small cacao rituals for themselves were considered very valuable - for both mother and child. Three of the women think that the cacao influenced the feeling towards their child very much in a positive sense. They were able to better connect with their role as mother and its meaning, while being at peace with themselves and opening up even more to the living being within. Thus, not only the connection to their own heart, but also the connection to the heart of the child had become much more intense.

Quote from a woman in response to the question "Did you feel that the cacao affected the connection between you and your child?"

'Absolutely. That's the reason why I would recommend every woman to drink cacao during pregnancy. Because it created a totally deep connection. And I also partly felt like I was totally intensely receiving things that were concerning him (her son) and of course for me there were moments where doubts came up. And there it helped me super to find the trust with the cacao and to feel him also so. Also to talk to me in a certain way, to communicate. And also to let him flow with a lot of what I wanted to give him. Yes, I think that already intensified our relationship during the pregnancy.'


One of the women drank cacao with her partner during her birth. Her birth stretched over two days and nights, and the cacao helped make her emotionally stronger during that time. Another woman took ceremonial cacao with cinnamon, cardamom and cayenne pepper to the birthing clinic, as these spices are considered to promote labor. However, since everything 'flowed' during the birth and she was 'perfect in her nature' and she did not want to intervene, it remained with the spatial presence of the cocoa spirit.

Another woman made herself a cacao the morning her labor began. However, she only drank a few sips because it didn't really feel coherent to her after all.

Immediately after the birth, the women had no experience with the consumption of cacao. One of the women explained that she did not want to influence the first bonding with her child or her hormonal changes, and therefore did not drink cacao for the first time after the birth. This time was anyway characterized by so much magic, new beginnings and growth that she just wanted to consciously allow and feel.


While the craving for cacao was consistent for some of the women during pregnancy, it tended to be lower or variable for most. For example, one of the women's craving for cacao was very low in the first trimester, while it became somewhat more moderate in the second and third. Even when breastfeeding, her craving for cacao remained rather moderate. One of the women shared that it is during pregnancy that she craves cocoa more and feels the desire to invite the plant energy of cocoa. It was also mentioned that drinking cacao could counter cravings for sweets as well as morning sickness. The women generally agree that the cacao served as a great nutrient provider for them and their child.

The women did not notice any contraindications associated with the consumption of cacao; on the contrary, they found the combination of cacao with the period of pregnancy and breastfeeding to be very compatible and doable.


In conclusion, I would say: cacao was a companion for me during pregnancy/breastfeeding that....

'...was a great support and a wonderful companion. Especially in this time, since it's a very feminine plant for me, which is also very supportive again, going into this herding, taking care of, nurturing the baby on so many levels. I find it so valuable as a woman and mother to be accompanied, nurtured and tended to there as well.'
'...gave me strength and grounding.'
'...gave me a lot of relaxation, love and heart opening and carried and carries me very beautifully through pregnancy and breastfeeding.'
'...soothed me, gave me strength, caressed me inside and rooted me.'
'...helped me prepare for this new passage in life.'
'...simply connects me with my true essence, with my heart, with my strength and joy of life and accordingly also strengthens this original connection to my body and to the baby and through this I just totally come into love.'
'A great companion that activates beautifully and energizes after sleepless nights. Also, it's wonderful for the mom and the baby when the mom is connected to the heart, beaming with joy and nourishing the baby with Cacaocita love.'


'I think there should be more education on the subject because I have heard from several women at cacao ceremonies that I should not drink cacao at all, that it is stimulating, just like coffee, and that it can be dangerous for the baby to drink cacao.' I have read up on the subject, but at the same time I have the impression that I can listen to my body. To what makes me feel good. If it is good for me, I don't think it can be bad for the baby. I have experienced myself that people in Central & South America, who work a lot with cacao, also give cacao to pregnant women and there it is absolutely no problem. Therefore, I think it would be nice if there would be more education, so that pregnant women realize that they can integrate cacao calmly. That it's nothing dangerous, actually the opposite, that it can be so healing and have so many positive effects.'
'I didn't drink cacao during my pregnancy because I heard that it can have negative effects on the baby. However, with my current intuitive knowledge (post-pregnancy), I would definitely drink ceremonial cacao in my next pregnancy.'

I don't want to add too much more to these beautiful concluding words. Women's experiences have shown that mama cacao can be a wonderful, nurturing companion during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Listening intuitively to the body is, of course, especially important during this time. However, the inner voice was felt by the women surveyed to be particularly strong and clear, especially at this time. In this sense, we would like to encourage women to trust in the wisdom of their bodies during pregnancy and breastfeeding and to listen to what is good for them and their child.

What is the best way to prepare my cocoa?
Our preparation recommendation

5th of October 2022

Hanna Krause

Reading time
8 minutes

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