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Can eating dates speed up your birth?

Yummy, scrummy dates.......

Well, we talk about the many natural ways to try to start labour, or to speed up birth, in our HypnoBirthing sessions, but how about the consumption of dates?

Those brown, sticky, sweet dates? What can they do to help?

medjool dates
Juicy deliciousness

I thought I would check out the statistics and info out there....

Can you believe that eating 6 dates a day, in the final weeks of your pregnancy, can actually decrease your chance of needing an induction, and they can help make your labour shorter?


There's been some good studies on this in the last few years, and it's so interesting that they have all reached the same conclusion: that delicious, juicy, sweet snack, so popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, can enhance our ability to respond to Oxytocin (the love hormone, and birth hormone!).

We produce more of the lovely Oxytocin hormone during pregnancy, and we need a big boost of it during birth, to really encourage the uterus muscles to surge, in order to soften and open the cervix. So eating dates prior to birth can enhance this magical process!

Alkoran et al (2017) said that date fruit 'probably influenced oxytocin receptors, caused more effective contractions, and better prepared the cervix for delivery'.

So, according to these studies, women are going to be:

  • More likely to go into labour spontaneously

  • More dilated (cervix more opened) when arriving at the hospital or birth centre

  • More likely to have a vaginal birth

  • Less likely to have postpartum haemorrhage

Khadem et al (2007) found that 'date fruit has an oxytocin-like effect, leading to the increased sensitivity of the uterus, stimulating uterine contractions and reduces mean post-partum haemorrhage'.

The evidence is there, and reassuringly all studies conclude that yummy dates are beneficial for women during late pregnancy, as they reduce the need for intervention and there are no adverse effects on mum or baby. Please do note: of course if you have diabetes, eat dates with caution as they have a high sugar content

So - 6 dates a day from 36 weeks ladies!

How do we eat them?

Here are a few ideas:

1. Eat them whole! The medjool dates are really juicy!

2. Chop them up and sprinkle them on chopped fruit and yoghurt, or on the top of your cereal or muesli

3. Chop them up and pop them in your smoothie! They sweeten up a vegetable smoothie!

4. Bake a cake with them: toffee & date dessert, date & walnut cake....there are many recipes out there!

5. Chop them up and sprinkle on top of your salad

6. Mix them with vegetables and stir them through some cous cous

7. Make a delicious tagine!

8. Make my Date & Nut powerballs I give to my doula clients, like in the photo below!

Here's the recipe:

My delicious Date & Nut powerballs I make for my doula clients

Miranda's Date & Nut Powerballs

I make a box of these for my doula clients, who seem to love them! Here's how I make them:

15 mejdool dates (these are the more juicy ones)

25g mixed roasted nuts

15g dried fruits (or nuts & fruits mixed - 40g)

100g plain oats

25g chopped chocolate (optional!)

- Chop up the dates into tiny pieces. You can either do this by hand or in the blender

- dry- roast or dry-fry the oats in a pan

- mix all the ingredients together, either by hand or in a blender

- you can add chopped chocolate if you wish!

- roll into small balls

- you can coat them in coconut if you like



Did you eat dates during pregnancy? How did they affect your birth? Do you have any recipes you would like to share?

Happy birthing! Miranda x

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