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Set the Date with Dates


Benefits of eating dates during late pregnancy

There comes a time towards the end of pregnancy when expecting moms begin to think about welcoming their new baby to the world. They may even wonder if there is any truth to the rumor that certain foods help bring on labor or shorten delivery time. The sweet little date fruit may be the key!

A randomized controlled trial, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, aimed to investigate the effect of eating dates during late pregnancy on labor and delivery. Researchers assigned 154 women to a date or a control group. Date eaters were provided with fruit dates and instructed to eat 80 grams or 7 dates per day until they were actively in labor. Active labor is part of the first stage when the cervix dilates from 6 to 10 cm allowing the baby to move into the birth canal. This stage can last from several hours to days. The second stage is when the baby is born and the third stage is placenta delivery.

While labor did not start any sooner in the date group as hypothesized, the need for augmentation, or interventions to help labor along, was significantly less in the date group. Many date eaters also enjoyed shorter first and third stages of labor, though the finding was not statistically significant in this study. While these findings are positive, more research will need to be done to determine if dates may be a supplement to consider in order to avoid drugs like oxytocin or prostaglandin to help bring on delivery.

Dates are known to be very sweet, making them a natural source of sugar in baked goods. Never tried it? Give our Banana citrus date bars or date nut bread a go.

Published May 1, 2018

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