When I was pregnant I was doing a lot of research on how to have the most natural birth possible, when I came across some interesting information regarding eating dates during your last trimester to help shorten labor and ripen your cervix. It sounded too good to be true? Right? So I did some more digging here is what I found:
According to a study done by Jordan University of Science and Technology, a prospective study was carried out on 69 women who consumed six date fruits per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery, compared with 45 women who consumed none.
“The women who consumed date fruit had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005), and a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007). Spontaneous labor occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024). Use of pros-tin/ Oxycontin was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036). The mean latent phase of the first stage of labor was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044). 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, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomized controlled trial.”
But what makes consuming dates in the last trimester so effective at shortening labor and ripening the cervix?
“Date fruit contains 13 vital substances and 5 kinds of vitamins, fatty acids, and sugars.” Dates contain: calcium, zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, A, K, and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin which provide their own unique preventive and healing functions. Date fruit also influences estrogen and progesterone hormones, which are effective in preparing the uterus and cervical ripening. Dates are high in fiber. They also contain Tannins and antioxidants which fight infection, and are anti- hemorrhagic. Date palm fruits possess high nutritional and therapeutic value with significant antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-proliferative properties.
*Dates are also high in sugar, so if you are experiencing issues with yeast, bacterial vaginosis, another infection, or maintaining your blood sugar it may be better to skip the dates.
After learning that I add this to my ever growing list of ‘ Third Trimester Prep Punch List’. Well did the dates work for me?
I ate 6 dates a day, I went into a spontaneous labor at 38 weeks and some change. For a first pregnancy, my labor was about 7.5 hours long, with a 30 minute delivery. I’d say they definitely helped!