Can eating dates really have an effect on your pregnancy or delivery?
The claim is that eating a certain amount of dates (generally 6-8) each day in the late weeks of pregnancy can help to ripen the cervix, improve dilation, and reduce the need for a synthetic oxytocin to bring on labor.
Could these claims be true?
Science says yes.
This page links to a few different studies that set out to learn if eating date fruit could really have an impact on pregnancy and childbirth. The studies agree that women who consume dates in late pregnancy are more likely to experience cervical ripening than those who do not.
An article from Healthline explains that the high fiber and antioxidant content of the fruit make it an excellent addition to any diet, noting the use for pregnancy. Plus, they won’t spike blood sugar.
Knowing that dates can be a great tool in the pregnant ladies arsenal, one might wonder how the heck to eat a date!
Dates are insanely sweet and delicious little fruits that make great snacks, as well as tasty additions to larger dishes.
I did my best to incorporate them into my diet during the last month of my pregnancy. Cooking was not an easy task for me at that point, so I stuck to a few really easy ways to enjoy them.
First off, and indisputably the most simple way, is to snack on the fruit as is. Just watch out for pits, and remember that dates are very sweet. Some may say too sweet to eat alone.
I would also throw them into my normal smoothies to add a bit of texture and extra sweetness. Sometimes I wouldn’t blend long enough, and would end up with little chunks floating around my smoothie, but I didn’t really mind.
As a big oatmeal fan, I found that I could easily top my breakfast with the dates as well, sometimes with some nut butter, to liven up my oats and make sure I was getting enough dates to reap the health benefits.
If you’re looking to add dates to your menu, and have a (very) little more motivation to cook, here are some ridiculously easy recipes you can throw together in no time:
1) Wrapped and Stuffed
Bacon and cheese make everything better, am I right? This awesome little appetizer from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum is no exception. Only 3 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep? Total winner. If someone brought these to my dinner party, they would be my friend forever. There are some mixed opinions on eating cheese when pregnant, but this filling could be easily substituted.
2) Larabar Copycat
Lee over at Fit Foodie Finds shares a 10 minute snack that will totally satiate that sweets craving (though let’s be honest, does that ever go away while you’re pregnant?). If you like me are a big food processor fan, this is for you. Grab some cashews, dates, and a few other ingredients of your choosing and let the magic begin!
I seriously would keep a pan of this stuff on my counter during the last month of my pregnancy so I could walk by and cut off pieces for myself throughout the day. My body craved it!
3) Peanut Butter For The Win
This one comes to us from Brittany at Eating Bird Food.
If you know me at all, you know that I love peanut butter. The only thing I love more than peanut butter, is peanut butter covered in chocolate. While grazing on Reese’s cups is an easy way to get my fix, I would much rather munch on something I can call “healthy”. Not only will these feel like a decadent dessert, but you’ll get your dates in too!
4) Salad Topper
You could throw dates on a variety of salads, but this one from Katherine Martinelli definitely caught my eye. The tangy and savory additions would balance out the sweetness of the dates and make for a delicious rounded out meal.
5) Multi-Purpose Paste?
Sonia at The Healthy Foodie shares a concoction that can be thrown in just about anything that needs a little sweetness. If you’re not a fan of raw dates, but still want to reap their cervix-ripening benefits, this might just be your answer. (I’m pretty interested in the chocolate cake recipe she mentions as well.)
What about you?
Do you have any favorite date recipes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Be sure to share this list with your pregnant friend. Or better yet, make her one of these treats and take it over! I can promise she won’t be mad.