Can eating dates shorten labor?

Could something as simple and inexpensive as eating dates shorten your labor?  It sounds too good to be true, right?  Maybe not…

Valencia market - dates

In a study by Jordan University of Science and Technology, one group of women ate 6 dates (Phoenix dactylifera or Medjool dates) per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated due date.  The second group did not eat dates.  There was no significant difference in gestational age, age and parity between the two groups of women. 

The results are fascinating.  The women who consumed date fruit had dilated farther upon admission to the hospital compared to the non-date fruit consumers.  Spontaneous labor occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women who did not.  Use of pitocin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%).  Early first stage of labor was around 6 hours shorter in women who consumed dates.  

It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor.  

Dates go well with almonds, apricot, bacon, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, cream, cream cheese, ginger, nuts, orange, and vanilla.  Some ideas for incorporating dates into your diet include:

  • Bacon wrapped dates
  • Couscous/quinoa/rice with dates and almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  • Oatmeal cookies with chopped dates (chocolate too if you want)
  • Quick bread with cinnamon and/or ginger and date or chocolate chips and dates
  • Dates stuff with cream cheese 
  • Chopped dates and nuts mixed with cream cheese spread for bagel 
  • Muffins with orange zest and dates
  • Salad with goat cheese, apricots, almonds with a ginger vinaigrette.  

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