During pregnancy it is important to get as many nutrients and vitamins in your body as possible. Dates are packed with several nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, all of which may provide huge health benefits ranging from improved digestion to a reduced risk of disease.
In a 2011 study, researchers had 69 pregnant of women eat six dates a day for four weeks leading up to their estimated delivery dates. The study also consisted of 45 pregnant women who didn’t eat any dates prior to their delivery dates.
On the conclusion of the study, researchers discovered that the women who ate six dates a day for 4 weeks had a shorter first stage of birth, a faster cervical dilatation, and more had intact membranes upon arrival at the hospital, meaning their cervix was riper for giving birth.
Additionally, 96% of the women who ate dates experienced spontaneous labour compared with only 79% of the women who didn’t eat dates.
A more recent study of 154 women compared 77 who ate dates late in their pregnancy and 77 who didn’t. Researchers found that the date eaters had significantly less need for medical intervention to induce or expedite birth compared to those who didn’t eat any dates.
Eating 4-6 dates from 36 weeks pregnant can:
- Help ripen cervix.
- Reduce the need for induction.
- Shorter labours.
- Has an oxytocin like effect on the body, leading to increased sensitivity of the uterus.
- Stimulates uterine contractions.
- Reduces postpartum hemorrhage the way oxytocin does.
8 other benefits of eating dates during pregnancy:
1. Provide energy: During pregnancy, you need more energy than usual. Consuming a handful of dates every day will supply the required sugars without adding extra calories.
2. Keep constipation away: As dates are rich sources of fiber, they keep the digestive system healthy and treat pregnancy-related constipation. They make the tummy full, reduce cholesterol levels, and help maintain a healthy weight.
3. Proteins produce amino acids: Dates provide sufficient amount of proteins required by your body to build amino acids, which are essential for body growth.
4. Helps in preventing birth defects: Dates are a good source of folate. Folate prevents birth defects related to the brain and spinal cord.
5. Vitamin K boost to the baby: Babies are born with low Vitamin K. If the mother consumes dates, they meet the requirement of the vitamin when the baby breastfeeds. Vitamin K aids in clotting and bone development.
6. Prevents anemia: Dates can provide you with the iron content required during pregnancy to keep anemia at bay. Iron maintains hemoglobin in the body and strengthens both yours and your baby’s immunity.
7. Maintains water-salt balance: Dates contain potassium, which maintains water-salt balance, regulates blood pressure, and avoids muscle cramps. Deficiency of this mineral could lead to kidney related issues.
8. Bones and teeth in the baby: Magnesium is another essential mineral as it helps in the formation of teeth and bones in the baby. It also regulates your blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
A few ideas of things to make with dates:
- Energy balls.
- Peanut, or almond stuffed dates, topped with chocolate sprinkles and sea salt.
- Chocolate covered dates.
- Cakes. A lot of dairy and gluten free cakes are made with dates.
Enjoy your dates.