If there was something you could eat that has been shown to help labor, would you eat it? Well, research backs this old wives tale up so head to the store and grab some dates!
Studies have shown that this sweet and sticky fruit can be a safe supplement to reduce the need for interventions during labor and eating dates is an easy activity that you can add to your daily habits.
One study performed in 2007-2008 and published in 2011 “concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome.”
A second study published to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2017 looked at the effect of consuming dates in late pregnancy on labour and delivery and concluded: “dates fruit consumption during late pregnancy has been shown to positively affect the outcome of labour and delivery.” Additionally, the study showed that “date consumption reduced the need for labour augmentation with oxytocin but did not expedite the onset of labour.”
The conclusion was that consumption of date fruits “in late pregnancy is a safe supplement to be considered as it reduced the need for labour intervention without any adverse effect on the mother and child.” which further supports the findings in the earlier study published in 2011.
Other noteworthy points:
- the latent phase of the first stage of labor was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared to those who did not consume the fruit–that means that the 0-10 cm stage of labor was significantly shorter in women who consumed dates (8.5 hrs) compared to those who didn’t (15.1 hrs).
- 96% of the women who consumed dates went into spontaneous labor and did not have to be induced (compared to only 79% of those who didn’t)
- only a small percentage of women who consumed dates needed pitocin (28%) compared to those who didn’t consume dates (47%)
But just how many dates were consumed and for how long?
Six dates a day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated due date. Here are some tips to help you get your 6 a day:
- Eat them as is! They’re soft and sweet and make for a great indulgent snack if you’re avoiding refined sugar.
- Stuff them! Dates have pits in the middle of them so when you remove the pit you can stuff your date with nuts, or cream cheese.
- Mixed with greens! Adding apples and walnuts to your salad? Try dicing some dates and tossing them in as well.
- No-bake bars! With their stickiness and sweetness, dates make the perfect binder for energy balls or bars (recipe below).
- Blend them! Add dates to your favorite green smoothie to add some natural sweetness.
For full-recipe, instructions, and substitutions visit: DETOXINISTA.COM
1 cup soft dates , pitted (soak them in water for 10 minutes and drain well, if not soft and squishy already)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
6 tablespoons creamy unsalted peanut butter, or nut butter of choice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract