Are Dates Good for Pregnancy?

So you might already know about the amazing health benefits of dates, but have you thought of how dates can be good for pregnancy? We are going to share with you some evidence-based findings and observations about how dates can be good for pregnancy. From a reduced need for medical labor induction to postpartum blood loss we are going to cover why dates are good for pregnancy and why they might be a good addition to your diet if you are currently pregnant. 


Postpartum Blood Loss 

A small study was completed in two hospitals in Iran to determine if eating dates after delivering the placenta would have an effect on postpartum blood loss or hemorrhage. Although the study was small, only 62 women, the results were promising. In the study, 31 women were assigned to eat dates and the other 31 were given oxytocin to prevent hemorrhage. Researches then measured the amount of blood loss from the women every hour after the placenta was delivered and the results showed that dates do actually affect blood loss after pregnancy. On average, the women that were assigned to eat dates showed less blood loss during the first hour of measurement, as well as after three hours. Although this initial study was small, it did conclude that dates were more effective than using oxytocin after birth to prevent hemorrhaging.  


Use of Pitocin 

Pitocin is a hormone that can be injected into mothers to induce labor, and strengthen contractions to get labor moving faster if it is not progressing enough. A study was conducted in Malaysia to compare a group of women who ate dates during pregnancy and a group who did not, to see if there would be differences in the need for Pitocin to induce labor. One group of 77 women were assigned to eat about 80 grams of dates daily starting at around 36 weeks pregnant. The control group of another 77 women was instructed to not eat dates, and then the results of Pitocin use were compared. The study found that 37% of the women that did consume dates did need Pitocin during labor, and in the control group of women who did not eat dates, 50% of them needed Pitocin. Concluding that dates could be a factor in not needing Pitocin during labor. 


Cervical Dilation 

During labor, a female’s cervix softens to allow for dilation during labor. Women often try several tips and tricks to soften or ripen their cervix for a smoother labor process. To test if consuming dates later in pregnancy was beneficial for cervical softening, a study was conducted in Iran to test the theory. In the study, 105 women were assigned to eat approximately 75 grams of dates starting around their 37th week of pregnancy. Another 105 women participating in the study were asked to not consumer dates since they were the control group. The study found that the women who did eat dates later in pregnancy did have more ripe cervixes than the women who did not eat dates. This same study also found that the women who did consume dates were more often able to have a vaginal birth. This study also did research on the need for Pitocin to start labor and found that only 20% of women needed it, compared to 45% of women that did not consume dates needing it. Therefore, it was concluded that dates did have a positive effect on softening the cervix, as well as vaginal birth and Pitocin usage. 


Are Dates Safe for Pregnancy? 

In most cases, yes, dates are safe for pregnancy. Not only are they safe for most mothers, but they are also beneficial for cervical softening, bloodloss, and labor according to the studies mentioned earlier. One concern is that since they are naturally sweet they might not be the best choice for women with gestational diabetes. Dates are somewhat low on the glycemic index scale, but it is best to check with your doctor before deciding to try dates for easing labor, etc. Dates should be consumed in moderation like a lot of foods, which is okay because in just consuming a small amount you are still benefiting from all the nutrients they are packed with. 


According to the results of these studies, dates are good for pregnancy and have a variety of benefits for pregnant mothers. Always remember to always consult with your doctor first before adding a new food into your pregnancy diet. 


References:


Dekker, R. (2017, June 21). Natural labor induction series: eating dates. Evidence based birth. https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-eating-dates-to-start-labor/