Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Eating dates helps you birth easier!

I just had to share this as it I think it looks really interesting. The extract was published in my new edition of Essentially Midirs I received today.

The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery.


Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan. oqba@yahoo.com


We set out to investigate the effect of date fruit (Phoenix dactylifera) consumption on labour parameters and delivery outcomes. Between 1 February 2007 and 31 January 2008 at 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. There was no significant difference in gestational age, age and parity between the two groups. 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 labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024). Use of prostin/oxytocin 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 labour 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 labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.
This link will take you to the journal abstract: Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Although when looking at research we shouldn't jump to conclusions about their results, for women looking at their options for avoiding induction of labour, this may well give them another choice. A quick google on the web and you'll find lots of anecdotal information about dates "strengthening the uterus", and easing labour. It would appear in some parts of Africa, such as Senegal, the eating of dates to help birth your baby has long been accepted.

While trying to find some more rigourous evidence I came across the following research paper :

The results suggest that dates can help reduce bleeding after birth.

Date fruit has Calcium, serotonin, tannin, linoleic acid and Prochcidas anzime that they are important for bleeding control. 2-Date fruit has much glucose that it is the most important source of production of energy in body and also it is the best food for muscles of uterus.

It seems that dates have amazing properties; antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, and so many more. It also appears that dates have hormonal properties that affect the body similarly to oxytocin, which gives us the effects on pregnancy and birth.  Oxytocin gives us orgasms, so eating dates can improve your sex life too!


  1. That's bizarre- My first son's birth was a total nightmare- 3 weeks late, induced, 24 hours labour and emergency c-section. When I was pregnant with number 2 I had a craving for dates and ate loads throughout the pregnancy. He popped out the right exit after 4 hours labour! Think there may really be something in this.

  2. That's a great story! Eating dates sounds like a brilliant way to maximise your chances of a smooth and easy birth. As long as you like the taste, seems like a simple effective remedy for me.

    Thanks for your comment :)

  3. Do the authors say anything about fresh vs dried dates?

    1. No. Fresh or dried.

  4. This is an interesting post. Actually, the Quran (Holy book for Muslims) mentions the consumption of dates at the time when Maryam (or Mary, mother of Jesus) was giving birth to Jesus. From the pain of labor, Maryam shakes the date tree and God tells her to eat from the tree and drink from the stream. I found a link that further discusses this.
    I'm 5 months pregnant with my first child and I plan on eating dates my last month. Hope it helps in the end (fingers-crossed)! May God be with us!
    Thanks for posting!

  5. i need to know how many dates should i eat?

  6. Fit pregnancy website recommends 6 per day.

  7. i need to know type of dates that should i eat

  8. Someone said eating 6 dates/day will give me diarrhea, is that true?

  9. I get diarrhea every time I eat dates.Even if it is just one.

  10. God advised Merry to eat dates when she was about to give birth to Jesus. (Quran, chapter Merry)

  11. beside the really weird comments by what looks like the same anonymous person. I have also heard that dates help. Not really sure what the medical aspect of it is though. I wonder if the author coudl maybe find a medical reason for this. Personally I used this cool product called Laboraide to have a natural birth. (I am allergic to many things and what is in an epidural is not good for me)


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