Dates popularly called dabino in Hausa, northern part of Nigeria, are not only safe for both the mother and baby, but they are beneficial too. Dates (dabino) contain the sugar–fructose that breaks quickly and offers instant energy without altering the blood sugar levels.
Dates in pregnancy are good as they contain laxatives which aid in uterus contractions and ease labor by shortening it.
Research proves that the consumption of dates during late pregnancy shortens labor and affects delivery positively by reducing the risk to both the mother and the baby.
Here is a table that shows the nutritional content in 100g of dates:
|Vitamin K||2.7 mcg|
Three separate studies suggest that eating dates during pregnancy can help you have an easier labor and birth
All three studies found fairly consistent results. Let’s break them down
Study #1, published in 2011: The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery
According to this study, women who ate 6 dates a day for the four weeks leading up to their due date were:
74% more dilated than non-date eaters at admission to birthplace
38% more likely to have intact membranes
21% more likely to spontaneously go into labor
28% less likely to use prostin/oxytocin to induce labor
Additionally, the date eaters had:
77% shorter first stage of labor
Study #2, published in 2014: The Effect of Late Pregnancy Consumption of Date Fruit on Cervical Ripening in Nulliparous Women
Published in the Journal of Midwifery & Reproductive Health, this study looked at date consumption in late pregnancy as it related to cervical ripening, and it found that women who ate 70-75 grams of dates per day after 37 weeks pregnant had:
50% higher Bishop scores at admission to birthplace
43% lower rates of cesarean section
51% lower rates of vacuum/forceps
Plus, the date eaters were
55% less likely to use oxytocin to induce labor
68% more likely to have a successful vaginal delivery after labor induction
“Nulliparous” in the study title means women who have never given birth before.
Study #3, published in 2017: Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery.
Published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, this study supported all the initial findings. The authors concluded that:
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.”
Side note: This 2007 study suggests that eating dates after delivery results in less blood loss than intramuscular oxytocin.
Dates are highly recommended for pregnant women as they can reduce the risk of anaemia, help cope with morning sickness, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels, get rid of toxins, boost immunity, and maintain healthy calcium content in the body. Dates are loaded with different kinds of nutrients that offer all these benefits. Let’s take a look at what these nutrients are and how they help you:
Iron: Everyone knows that the iron requirement of a pregnant woman is more than that of a woman who is not pregnant. Dates are enriched with iron and can help keep anaemia at bay by ensuring that your blood has a healthy haemoglobin count. Iron helps in various metabolic processes in your body and boosts both your and your baby’s immune system
Folate: Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients that you need to consume. It prevents brain and spinal cord birth defects in babies
Vitamin K: Vitamin K, in general, helps your blood to clot. It also helps in the development of your baby’s bone structure and dates are among the best sources of this vitamin. A deficiency in vitamin K can be harmful to your baby’s health. By eating dates, you can compensate for this deficiency if you’re facing it.
Fibre: Dates offer a high content of fibre, and so you can digest them easily. Constipation is common during pregnancy, and you can prevent that by eating dates. Dates ease digestion and also reduce the level of bad cholesterol from the body. Eating dates will make your tummy feel full and this, in turn, will help in maintaining a healthy body weight, something which is crucial during pregnancy.
Potassium: Potassium is required to maintain the salt balance in the body, and it aids in maintaining the blood pressure as well. Muscle cramps are common during pregnancy, and you can prevent them by ensuring that your body has sufficient level of potassium. Deficiency of this nutrient can lead to kidney problems.
Fructose: As already mentioned above, dates contain fructose which ensures that your energy levels are always high. It is important to be high on energy during pregnancy for your body to be able to cope with the changes you face. Eat dates as they offer instant energy.
Sugar: You will need more calories as compared to a woman who is not pregnant. Eat a couple of dates whenever you are hungry as this fruit is a source of good sugar and offers you the much-needed calories without affecting your weight.
Magnesium: Your baby needs magnesium for bone and teeth formation. It helps in regulating your blood sugar and blood pressure as well.
Best Benefits of Eating Dates During Pregnancy
A study conducted by the students of Jordan University of Science and Technology has proved the advantages of eating dates when pregnant, and they are:
When you are pregnant, your body needs more energy and dates will offer you that. Consuming a handful of dates will provide you with the necessary energy without adding to the calories
Dates will also help to keep constipation away. Dates are a rich source of fibre and will keep your digestive system healthy and keep away pregnancy-related constipation away. Dates make you feel full, reduce the level of bad cholesterol, and help you maintain a healthy weight. This is among the most useful dates benefits in pregnancy when indigestion is a major problem
Dates contain proteins too, and these proteins help to build amino acids required for body growth
As already mentioned, dates contain folate too. Folate is required for the proper development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord
Dates are enriched with vitamin K.Vitamin K helps in bone development and blood clotting.
Dates also help prevent anaemia as they are rich in iron. Anemia is common during pregnancy and you can prevent it by eating dates on a regular basis. Iron helps to maintain the haemoglobin level in your blood and boosts your baby’s immunity as well
Dates also help to maintain water-salt balance in your body as they contain potassium. Potassium also prevents muscle cramps and regulates blood pressure. Deficiency in potassium can lead to kidney-related issues
Eating dates will improve the teeth and bone health of your baby. Dates contain magnesium, and this helps in the formation of bone and teeth in babies. Magnesium also helps in maintaining the blood pressure and blood sugar. It also prevents prevent kidney and liver abnormalities
The cervical-dilation of pregnant women who ate dates was found to be higher compared to the pregnant women who did not eat dates. This proved that the early stage of labour is shorter in date-eating pregnant women
Research proves that more than 83% of the women who ate dates had their membranes intact when admitted to the hospital and less than 28% of these women were given synthetic Oxytocin or Pitocin during their labour. On the other hand, 60% of non-date eating pregnant women had their membranes intact, and about 43% of them needed Pitocin.
Labour occurred spontaneously in more than 96% of the women who ate dates during pregnancy, and in79% in the case of women who did not eat dates
Dates help by boosting the oxytocin effect or the contraction of the womb which in turn enhances the uterus sensitivity
Calcium, serotonins, and tannin present in the fruit help in the proper contraction of the uterus muscles
Dates contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids that supply energy. They also help in producing prostaglandins. Both the oxytocin effect and prostaglandins are essential for labour
Dates ease and shorten labour as it contains laxatives which aid contractions
Eating Dates(Dabino) During Different Stages of Gestation
This is a common question that pregnant women ask. Read on to discover when to start eating dates during pregnancy
Eating Dates(Dabino) in the First Trimester
Eating dates(Dabino) is important in the first trimester as constipation is a big issue during this time. Eat dates(Dabino) to ensure your bowels are moving smoothly, and you do not have any internal discomfort.
However, make sure to limit the quantity when eating dates (Dabino) during first trimester pregnancy, more so, if you have blood sugar issues or you have group B strep infection (an infection found in the rectum or vagina of a pregnant woman).
Eating Dates in the Second Trimester
You can avoid eating dates(Dabino) during the second trimester as the chances of getting gestational diabetes are quite high during this time. However, you can always talk to your gynaecologists and then take a call, as eating a few of them will not do any harm.
Eating Dates in Third Trimester
Make sure you eat dates(Dabino) during the third trimester as this will help in shortening the labor and making the entire delivery process easy thanks to the natural laxative which aid contractions.
Start eating six dates in a day from the starting of the 36 weeks pregnant or 37-weeks pregnant i.e. four weeks from the expected date of delivery.
Different ways of Consuming Dates during Pregnancy
There are many ways in which you can eat dates in your pregnancy. The first way is, of course, eating them raw. Here are some more ideas on how to eat dates during pregnancy:
Make a Smoothie: Mix six dates with a cup of yoghurt and mix them in a blender to make a smoothie
Syrup: Make date syrup at home by blending few dates and milk. Drizzle the mixture over ice cream, toast, waffles or oatmeal
Dessert: To make simple date dessert, you can just add dates to steamed semolina and sesame and drizzle honey on the top
Pie Crust: Mix dates and nuts in the grinder and make a smooth puree. Mix that with the pie dough for a healthy crust
Sweetener: Replace sugar with dates in milk and other drinks. Consumption of fructose is any day a better option than that of sucrose
Cookies and Muffins: You can add dates to your cookie or muffin batter and enhance their taste
Salad Dressing: De-seed the dates and stuff them with peanut butter and add them to any salad of your choice
Wraps: You can also include dates in chicken and tuna for a subtle taste