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Could eating dates help ease natural labour?

Nut butter stuffed dates
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Stuffed dates with nut butter and mixed seeds. The most simple and delicious snack. Rumour has it they could even help promote natural labour too…but what does the science say?

 

A real treat for your microbes too with a prebiotic boost. Slice to open, stuff with nut butter (choose your favourite or mix it up, but I love them with smooth almond or cashew butter) and sprinkle mixed seeds for extra crunch and fibre.

 

For an extra indulgent feel, make them toffee-like and pop them in the freezer overnight… so good with a drizzle of melted 70% dark chocolate over them too.

 

These have been a weekly staple for me and bub over the last few months! So I’ve been reading up on the latest studies too…

 

Research has actually shown eating dates during the last few weeks of pregnancy can help to induce and ease natural labour – as well as speed up labour time.

 

  • One study found women eating 6 dates a day (approx. 60-70g/ day) for 4 weeks before their due date were 20% more likely to go into labour naturally and were in labour for significantly less time than those who didn’t eat them.

 

  • Another study (154 pregnant women) observed that those who ate dates were much less likely to be induced compared to those who didn’t.

 

How? It’s thought to be likely due to chemicals in dates that can mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body – that’s the hormone that causes labour contractions.

 

They also contain tannins, which are thought to help with contractions too, and they’re a good source of natural sugars, among other nutrients for keeping energy levels up during labour.

 

More research needs to be done before we start prescribing them from 37 weeks – but for now, I’ll be enjoying extra dates just in case.

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