The Tuareg people of Algeria’s Sahara desert say you can survive the inhospitable climate on just 3 dates for 9 days. If you don’t find water on the 10th day, you die. Well, I guess that’s the bad news.
Dates have been cultivated in the arid deserts of the Middle East and North Africa for over 6,000 years. There are hundreds of varieties but they all have one thing in common: they’re a superfruit packed with nutrients. And now new studies show that they also help shorten and ease the pain of labor. Ummm, high-five to that! 🙌
Because life’s too short for bad dates (it was true in my 20s and it’s true now), I opt for the QUEEN of dates — the medjool. A single medjool date has about 66 calories and is rich in vitamin B-6, potassium, calcium, iron, folate, zinc, manganese, magnesium and niacin. Pregnant women only need about 300 extra calories per day to gain the recommended weight your for growing baby. So instead of picking up the Häagen–Dazs, it’s advisable to reach for nutrient-dense foods, like dates, instead. Eating just a few dates in one sitting could cover your caloric needs AND pack a powerful nutritional punch.
On top of being a great source of nutrition during a healthy pregnancy, dates also fight against pregnancy complications like preeclampsia. And since dates are also high in fiber, they can reduce the risk of constipation and hemorrhoids — which is especially important post-partum.
But the BIGGEST advantage of gnoshing on dates is an easy labor. A recent study found that women who ate just 6 dates a day beginning 4 weeks before their due date were more likely to:
- be more dilated upon arrive to L&D
- have intact membranes upon admission
- go into spontaneous labor
- avoid induced labor with Pitocin
- have a shorter labor phase overall
“Dates fruit consumption during late pregnancy has been shown to positively affect the outcome of labour and delivery without adverse effect on the mother and child.”