How Does Dates Help to Induce Labour?

Can Dates Help Induce Labour?

Medically Reviewed By
Anindita Bhattacharya (Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian)
View more Diabetologist/Nutritionist/Dietitian Our Panel of Experts

In earlier times, women used to consume dates to induce labour. Although there has never been any clear study on the effects of eating dates in pregnancy, especially to induce labour, it has been observed that women who ate dates during their term were found to have a heightened level of sensitivity in the uterus which helped in inducing labour.

Most women who consume approximately six small dates during their 35th or 36th week of pregnancy are said to benefit immensely at the time of their delivery and post delivery. As per a study, it was observed that dates helped them have a quick labour time. Some of them also noticed that their cervix was a lot softer at the time of delivery helping in reducing complications or forceps delivery.

Does Eating Dates Shorten Labour?

Dates do play a significant role in shortening the labour. The amount of energy utilised during labour is equivalent to that of an aerobic session. To keep up the momentum, a woman’s body needs more energy than just glucose. Dates fit this category perfectly, as they contain lots of carbohydrates (5.33 grams), namely fructose and sucrose, along with glucose. They also include fatty acids, which play a vital role in the production of prostaglandins. These increased prostaglandins help in uterine contractions during labour in pregnant women.

Effects of Consuming Dates During the Last Stage of Pregnancy on Labour & Delivery

If one has to believe the old midwives’ tales, then the date fruit has been in existence since time immemorial. Dates can boost oxytocin to help the uterus to contract and increase its sensitivity, which helps in stimulating it towards going into labour. Also known as Phoenix dactylifera in biological terms, dates are a nutrient-dense fruit. They are a powerhouse of different salts, vitamins, minerals and proteins. Vitamins like Riboflavin, Thiamine, folic acid, ascorbic acid and biotin are the primary constituents of dates.

Dates also contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in their flesh and seeds. The serotonin, tannin, and calcium in dates are the main components that contribute towards inducing labour by helping in contraction of the smooth muscles in the uterus. Consumption of approximately 60-80 grams of dates per day during your last leg of pregnancy can increase the chances of cervical ripening, considerably reducing the need for a medically induced labour.

Eating dates can also have a positive effect on blood loss during postpartum. Dates contain natural sugars that break down with ease and are a perfect choice for snacking during pregnancy(verified)

What If You Don’t Like the Taste of Dates?

Women who don’t like the taste of dates need not worry, because there are many ways to include them in your diet. You can eat dates with peanut butter or any of your preferred nut butter. These can be consumed with a little sea salt as well. The salt helps in neutralising the sweet taste of the dates. You can blend it with almond milk and consume it at night. You can also consume dates with yoghurt and other fruits and nuts for a flavourful smoothie.

Dates are a fantastic energy booster, are nutritious, and are extremely good for a pregnant woman. But, if you have gestational diabetes, consult with your doctor before you include dates in your diet to induce labour. If there are no contraindications during your pregnancy, then enjoy snacking on this magical fruit for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Also Read: Easy and Quick Ways to Induce Labour

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