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Dates during Pregnancy: Do they really ease Labor?

Does eating dates during pregnancy ease labor??

The birth of a child is undoubtedly strenuous and painful. One of the top priorities for most of the pregnant women would be having a smooth delivery. It is claimed that having dates during the pregnancy period can ease labor. Let's see how dates help with labor??

What does Science Say???

According to some research, munching on dates does not induce labor pain whereas, it shows a positive impact on child birth. In the year 2011, a study published in the Journal Of Obstetrics and Gynaecology demonstrated that women who ate dates around five to six per day  for about three to four months prior to their expected due date had experienced a greater rate of unconstrained labor.

According to the studies, those who consumed dates experienced significantly shorter first, second and third stages of labor when compared with pregnant women who did not eat dates. Furthermore, women who ate dates experienced more unconstrained labor as dates reduce the duration of labor thus limiting the need for oxytocin and prostaglandins to induce labor.

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How does dates help in labor???

Researchers emphasize plethora of theories, like the simple sugar which is present in the dates aids in the supply of energy for the moms during labor. It can increase the level of oxytocin receptors which in turn helps the uterine more effectively during delivery. Plus, the presence of tannins in dates triggers more cervical contractions. Dates can also help to reduce the incidence of postpartum haemorrhage.

However, if they are mostly consumed in the dried form, the caloric content would be more just like any other fruits. One hundred grams of dates provides 277kcals, 1.8 grams of protein and 6.7 grams of fiber.

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When to eat dates during pregnancy?

During the entire pregnancy period, constipation is a common problem. Therefore, eating dates in moderation during pregnancy is recommended. But if you are at a risk of developing gestational diabetes, please take doctors/nutritionists opinion while including in your diet.

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Benefits of dates during pregnancy

  • Provides energy: Consuming a fistful of dates everyday will supply the energy along with other nutrients.
  • Relieves constipation: Dates can be a good source of fiber so that it relieves constipation which is quite common during pregnancy. It can also satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Helps in avoiding birth defects: Dates are rich in folates. As per WHO, pregnant women should supplement their diet with Folates and folate-rich foods so that, they prevent congenital disabilities.

  • Bones and Teeth in the baby

Magnesium which is present in the dates will helps to regulate the blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Thereby decreasing the risk of pre-eclampsia, hypertension and premature labor. Also, it plays a paramount role in the formation of teeth and bones in the baby.

Must Read: 9 Tips to Keep Close for a Healthy Pregnancy

  • Contains Iron

Good amount of iron is also present in the dates which helps to prevent the anaemia during pregnancy.

In a nutshell, pregnant women can consume around 4 to 6 dates starting from the 36th week, that is four weeks before the expected due date : It may or may not ease the labor- there is no conclusive evidence -larger widespread studies are needed for clarity. Always check with your consultant once before embarking on this plan, because research has been done in very limited population to reach a consensus. Also ,if you overeat dates, it leads to a spike in the sugar level, risk of developing gestational diabetes and excessive gestational weight gain.

So, always remember that 'Moderation is the key

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By,

Namitha Nambiar,

Nutritionist

Clouldnine Bellandur

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