Did you know eating dates towards the end of your pregnancy can help you have an easier and faster labor?! Who knew?!
1. According to this study, women who ate six deglet noor 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
- 77% shorter first stage of labor
How amazing is that?! So starting at 36 weeks, you should start eating 6 dates per day. I’ve already started a few weeks early (I’m 33 weeks along) because I love these girl-scout cookie-inspired Samoas Date Balls so much! They’re super gooey, chewy, sweet, chocolate-y and filled with fiber and protein. I love having 2 alongside a smoothie in the morning, or just a couple with king coffee as a snack. Or, you can eat the dates plain (and pitted) with globs of nut butter. I do that often if I don’t have time to make these yummy date balls!
The studies were done on the deglet noor dates which are slightly smaller, but where I live I can only find the medjool dates which are bigger. Either variety works. Nutritionally, medjool dates and deglet noor dates are nearly identical. So I would say if you are choosing the medjool dates, you could reduce the amount to 3-4 per day due to their size. If you are choosing the deglet noor variety, I would eat 6 dates. I find the medjool dates (as picutred below) to be more gooey and soft. This recipe makes 12 balls using 24 of the medjool dates. So eating 2 date balls would get you to the recommended daily amount of 4 medjool dates! So if you make this recipe each week up until you deliver you will be set!
Dates also have numerous nutritional benefits (taken from this post):
- Natural sugars (fructose) that easily break down in the body and won’t spike blood sugar levels, but offer high energy.
- Fiber that helps you stay full, relieves constipation, and lowers your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- Potassium—one of the best electrolytes. It helps maintain water/salt balance which helps regulate blood pressure.
- Magnesium, which supports muscular health and helps alleviate muscle spasms and cramps in pregnancy.
- Folate, which ensures your baby’s spinal cord matures properly, avoiding neural tube defects.
- Vitamin K, which maintains proper blood clotting and healthy bones.
Samoas Date Balls for an Easier Labor! Studies have shown that eating 6 dates per day can help your labor. These protein-packed vegan date balls are gooey, sweet, fiber-filled and absolutely delicious as a snack.
24 medjool dates, pitted
2 tablespoons almond butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup vegan protein powder (or 1 scoop; chocolate or vanilla)
2 tablespoons vegan mini chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water
Optional add-ins: 2 tablespoons cacao powder for a more chocolate-y taste!
Remove the pit from all the dates. Add the dates to a food processor with the almond butter and vanilla extract. Pulse until the dates are mostly blended and sticky.
Add in the coconut, protein powder, chocolate chips, chia seeds and sea salt. Process until well blended together. The mixture should now feel more powder-y and dry.
Add in the water and pulse until the mixture is back to being sticky and more “wet”. If it feels too wet you could add in another tablespoon of protein powder.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Form into 12 date balls! You could roll in some shredded coconut for fun too, or just leave them as is. Refrigerate the date balls in an airtight container to stay fresh.