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Learn4Birth’s mission is to provide education that empowers women and their partners through childbirth,

alleviates fear, builds confidence and stimulates informed thinking and decision making for a positive birth experience one labor at a time.

Will Medjool Dates Affect Due Date?

I often start the third class (of 5) asking the women and partners to tell us what ‘old wives tales’ they may have heard.  Hands are quick to fly up with examples from co-workers, friends and family.  While “severe indigestion means a hairy baby” is potentially based in evidence based research, “roughing up one’s nipples for breastfeeding” is certainly not!  Here’s one for you:

T or F – DATES CAN KNOCK 7 HOURS OFF THE AVERAGE LABOR??

The answer is potentially TRUE!  The class is often perplexed and enlightened when I point some of the possible effects of eating Medjool dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy (according to a small but very interesting study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology several years ago):

96% of women in the date eating group went into labor on their own

83 % of women in the date eating group had their amniotic fluid and sac intact when admitted

Women in the date eating group were dilated significantly further upon arrival at the hospital

……WAIT FOR IT……….

The early part of stage 1 labor was almost 7 HOURS SHORTER in the date eating group!

For those who counter with criticisms like: “The sample size is too small to be reliable” or “No study has repeated these results” or “There could be other reasons for these outcomes”, I ask you to look at the Benefits and Risks of eating 6 dates a day for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy in addition to the possible results above:

Benefits of eating Dates:

-Contain 15 minerals, 23 types of amino acids, vitamins, carbs, protein, fiber and fatty acids.

-Aid with ‘digestion’ and helps alleviate constipation.

-Several different ways to prepare them (smoothies, wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese, rolled in chocolate) allow most women to enjoy them.

Risks of eating Dates:

-Not all grocers stock them so finding them can be a challenge.

-They are not free.

Are you willing to eat some dates to potentially shorten your labor?  Were you a date eater that had a fast labor?  Let us know what you think.

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