Want an easier birth? Get a date… or 6 !!
Now I know what you’re thinking…a date? Well a gorgeous date with family, friends or loved ones is always a good idea to get those love hormones boosted BUT this is specifically about fruit.
What are dates?
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. Dates have become quite popular in recent years. A staple in middle eastern cooking but easily accessed throughout the year for western countries too. You are most likely to have access to dried dates and you can tell the difference between dried and fresh by the wrinkled appearance of the skin of the dried fruit. Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are the most commonly consumed varieties.
Dates are chewy with a sweet flavour. They are also high in some important nutrients and have a variety of advantages and uses. There are high in fibre which is great for gut health, antioxidants and are a natural alternative to sweeteners.
Traditionally dates have been used for centuries to prepare for labour and now we have research to back it. While we don’t know exactly how it works it is thought that dates have an oxytocin-like effect on the body, leading to increased sensitivity of the uterus. They stimulate uterine contractions and reduce postpartum haemorrhage, the way oxytocin does.
While there are 1500 varities of dates, there are two we know are readily available.
Medjool dates you only need about 3 (70 to 75 grams) & 6 dates a day is the magic number if you’re eating Deglet Noor dates
Here’s what the research says on dates for an easier labour
3 separate studies have shown that people who eat six dates a day for 4 weeks leading up to their due period have better labour and birth outcomes than non date eaters.
The research showed that women who ate dates had:
- 43% lower caesarean section rates
- 77% shorter first stage of labour
- 51% lower rates of vacuum/forceps .
They also were:
- 74% more dilated than non-date eaters at admission to place of birth
- 38% more likely to have intact membranes
- 21% more likely to go into labour on their own
- 28% less likely to use protein/oxytocin (pitocin) to induce labour
- 68% more likely to have a successful vaginal birth after labour induction .
Keep in mind that they are high in sugar so be mindful of them in earlier pregnancy however it appears they don’t negatively impact blood sugar levels.