8 Benefits Of Dates During Pregnancy And How They Ease Labor

✔ Research-backed

You can safely consume dates during pregnancy in a moderate amount. Additionally, dates nutrition facts suggest that these dried fruits have good calorie content, and a handful of them can provide adequate nutrients to the mother and the baby. Furthermore, it is an ideal snack because its sugars break down to provide the optimum amount of energy without raising blood sugar levels (1). This post will tell you more about eating dates during pregnancy, their safety, and benefits.

In This Article

How Does Eating Dates Help In Labor?

Consuming date fruit could help in the ripening of the cervix

Image: IStock

Studies show that eating dates during the last few weeks of pregnancy may have positive effects on labor and delivery. Evidence from randomized control trials has shown that consuming date fruit could help in the ripening of the cervix, which may reduce the duration of labor, thus reducing reducing the need for oxytociniA hormone secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate contractions during childbirth and lactation and prostaglandinsiA group of lipids with hormone-like actions that help induce labor in pregnant women to induce labor (1).

High sugar content in dates may provide energy during labor, and it may help to promote uterine contractions by increasing the sensitivity of the uterus to oxytocin. Eating dates may ease the labor as well as reduce the incidence of postpartum hemorrhageiUnusual and uncontrolled blood loss after childbirth However, further research is required to confirm these findings and provide more robust evidence. (2) (3).

protip_icon Quick fact
Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linolenic acid in date fruit contribute to prostaglandin production, which triggers uterine contractions (14)

Nutrition Facts About Dates

One hundred grams of iron provides 277Kcal of energy and contains 1.8g protein and 6.7g fiber, which makes them a healthy snack option and a rich energy source. The quantity of other essential nutrients per 100g of dates are mentioned here (4).

RDA per day (5)Per 100g
Folate600mcg15mcg
Iron27mg0.9mg
Vitamin K90mcg2.7mcg
Magnesium350-360mg54mg
Potassium2900mg696mg

Benefits Of Dates During Pregnancy

Dates are a safe and healthy food item during pregnancy. They are highly nutritious for the mother and the growing fetus as they provide fiber, iron, and potassium; essential during pregnancy. Additionally, dates are high in antioxidants, protecting the baby from damage. Let us find out more in detail about its benefits for the to-be-mothers.

  1. Provide energy: During pregnancy, you need more energy than usual. Consuming a handful of dates every day will supply the required natural sugars, along with other nutrients and polyphenols (6).
  1. Relief from constipation: As dates are rich sources of dietary fiber, they may keep the digestive system healthy and may help relieve pregnancy-related constipation. They make the tummy full, reduce cholesterol levels, and help maintain a healthy weight (6) (7) (8). However, it is important to note that further scientific research is required to establish the precise extent of these properties attributed to dates.
  1. Proteins produce amino acids: Dates can provide some amount of proteins to the diet, which is required to build amino acids needed for body growth.
  1. Helps in preventing birth defects: Dates are a good source of folate. Folate prevents congenital defects related to the brain and spinal cord. CDC recommends folate supplements and intake of folate-rich foods before and during pregnancy, to prevent congenital disabilities (9).
  1. Vitamin K for the baby: Babies are born with low Vitamin K, which aids in clotting and bone development. If the mother consumes dates during and after pregnancy, the baby may get some amount of this vitamin through breastmilk.
  1. Contains iron: Dates contain some amount of iron and phytochemicals and may aid in the prevention of anemia during pregnancy. Iron maintains hemoglobin in the body and provides immune system support to both you and your developing baby.
Iron-rich dates for a healthy pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Maintains water-salt balance: Dates contain potassium, which maintains water-salt balance, regulates blood pressure, and avoids muscle cramps (10). The deficiency of this mineral could increase the risk of blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke.
  1. Bones and teeth in the baby: Magnesium is another essential mineral as it helps in the formation of teeth and bone health maintenance. It also helps in blood sugar management and regulates your blood pressure levels. Dates help in preventing magnesium deficiency in pregnancy, which may otherwise increase the risk of chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, placental dysfunction, and premature labor (11).

protip_icon Did you know?
Date fruit has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Besides, it is rich in calcium, serotonin, and tannins, which may contribute to an expectant mother’s overall well-being (15).

When To Eat Dates During Pregnancy?

If you are wondering when to start eating dates during pregnancy, the good news is that dates can be eaten at any stage of gestation. You only need to be cautious about the amount you eat.

  • In the first trimester, constipation is a common problem, and dates help prevent it and maintain a good digestive health. However, it is good to eat them in moderation in early pregnancy, especially if you have blood sugar problems or group B strepiA bacteria with a potential to cause serious infections and found in the digestive and genital tract .
  • In the second trimester, you are at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes. You need to take your doctor’s opinion and ask for low-glycemic dates variety options when planning to include them in your diet.
  • In the third trimester, eating dates can make your labor shorter and easier. Pregnant women can eat six dates a day starting from the 36th week, which is four weeks before the estimated due date (1).

Some women avoid dates during summer as they are believed to produce heat and upset stomach or body temperature. But this is not scientifically proven.

Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Dates During Pregnancy

Overconsumption of dates could cause excessive weight gain during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Dates do not have any side effects when taken in moderation. However, if you overeat them, they may cause:

  • Excessive gestational weight
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Risk of developing gestational diabetes
  • Tooth decay in case of poor oral hygiene

protip_icon Be watchful
Excessive date intake can cause abdominal issues in sensitive individuals. Also, sulfite coating (added to increase shelf life) on dried dates may trigger asthma and allergic reactions (16).

How To Eat Dates During Pregnancy?

Dates can be eaten in many ways.

  • Smoothie: Dates with yogurt can be a great smoothie combo.
Date smoothie for pregnant women

Image: Shutterstock

  • Dessert: Add dates to couscous (steamed balls of semolina) along with sesame and pure honey.
  • Syrup: Mix dates and some milk in a blender and drizzle it over ice cream, wheat waffles, toast, or oatmeal.
  • Sweetener: It can be an excellent replacement for sugar in milk or juices.
  • Pie crust: Puree dates and nuts in a blender and mix with pie crust dough.
  • Salad dressing: Stuff dates with peanut butter and mix in a salad of your choice.
  • Cookies and bars: Add in cookies, muffins, or bars for a chewy texture.
  • Stuffed dates: Remove the pit and add nuts of your choice with peanut butter.
Stuffed dates recipe

Image: Shutterstock

  • Wraps: Dates, chicken or tuna, and other vegetables wrapped in a wheat pita or tortilla are great.
  • Date parfait: Mix dates and all your favorite fruits to make a yummy parfait.

There are numerous varieties of dates such as red, black, soft, dry, and more, sold worldwide. Soft dates are very sweet and are rich in moisture. Semi-dry dates are less sweet and chewier. Dry dates are usually used in baking and usually not eaten raw. Dry, soft, or any other texture, dates make healthy and delicious snacks.

Healthy And Delicious Date Recipes

Incorporate the goodness and taste of dates to your pregnancy diet with these nutritious and delicious date recipes.

1. Coconut And Dates Balls

Coconut And Dates Balls

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • Pitted dates
  • Desiccated coconut

How To:

  1. Add the pitted dates to a food processor and pulse them until they become sticky.
  2. Roll the above dates mixture into small bite-sized balls.
  3. Take some desiccated coconut on a plate, roll the date balls, and cover them with the coconut.
  4. Store these balls in an air-tight container and enjoy them as a healthy snack.

2. Dates And Fruit Smoothie

Dates And Fruit Smoothie

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 6 pitted fresh dates
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Few ice cubes

How To:

  1. Combine the dates, coconut milk, whole milk, almond butter, banana, and ice in a blender.
  2. Blend all the ingredients until smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a glass when cold, and enjoy it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to consume Medjool dates during pregnancy?

Medjool dates are rich sources of several nutrients and vitamins that are essential for pregnant women. They are an excellent source of carbohydrates and fiber and have a low-fat content. They are rich in vitamins, including niacin, folate, pyridoxineiA water-soluble vitamin commonly known as vitamin B6 , pantothenic acidiCommonly called vitamin B5, helps break down fat in the body , thiamineiCommonly known as vitamin B1, responsible for the growth, development, and function of various cells , riboflaviniCommonly known as Vitamin B2, helpful for the production of red blood cells and body growth. , and vitamins A and K.

All of these play a vital role in metabolism and aid in the baby’s growth and development. Dates are also a good source of minerals such as potassium and iron. They may help in the reduction of LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues. Dates, in general, are rich in antioxidants and may prevent cancerous growths (12).

2. Can you eat Chinese red dates during pregnancy?

Chinese red dates, also known as Jujube fruit, are high in iron and therefore help to prevent anemia in pregnant women and babies. They improve the nutritional quality of a mother’s milk and prevent hemorrhages after delivery. You can find more details on Chinese red dates in Chinese Dates: A Traditional Functional Food (13).

3. How many dates will induce labor?

There are no exact figures on the number of dates that can induce labor. However, in a medical study, the consumption of six dates daily four weeks before the delivery resulted in a high percentage of spontaneous labor(2).

Knowing dates’ nutrition facts can help you understand the benefits of consuming it during pregnancy. They can help curb your sugar craving while providing protein, iron, magnesium, folate. It is known to maintain water-salt balance and its fiber content helps ease constipation. When taken in the third trimester, dates may aid in the ripening of the cervix and ease labor. However, overeating dates may cause weight gain or increase the risk of gestational diabetes. So do take your doctor’s suggestion to know how much you may consume to avoid any untoward effect.

Infographic: Advantages Of Having Dates During Pregnancy

After knowing that consuming dates during pregnancy is safe, you might want to keep the benefits they offer in mind. To help you with that, we have prepared the following infographic that lists a few advantages. You can save this information to your board and share it with friends as well. Read on!

benefits of dates during pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Consuming dates during the final weeks of pregnancy can aid in cervical ripening and shorten labor duration.
  • Dates contain high sugar content and contribute to prostaglandin production, promoting uterine contractions.
  • Eating dates provides energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as iron and potassium.
  • Dates can alleviate constipation, provide amino acids, help prevent birth defects, and aid in vitamin K and iron intake.
  • Excessive consumption of dates may lead to weight gain, increased blood sugar, gestational diabetes, tooth decay, and abdominal issues in sensitive individuals.
dates nutrition facts_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team


Learn about the nutrition facts and health benefits of dates in this informative video! Discover how dates can help you stay healthy and fit.

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Masoumeh Kordi, et al.; Effect of Dates in Late Pregnancy on the Duration of Labor in Nulliparous Women
2. Al-Kuran O et al.; The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery.
3. Razali N, et al.; Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery.
4. Dates, Medjool; USDA
5. Micronutrient Needs During Pregnancy and Lactation; Oregon State University
6. Al-Farsi MA and Lee CY.; Nutritional and functional properties of dates: a review.
7. Abdellaziz Souli, et al.; Effects of Dates Pulp Extract and Palm Sap (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on Gastrointestinal Transit Activity in Healthy Rats
8. Alqarni MMM, et al.; Antioxidant and antihyperlipidemic effects of Ajwa date (Phoenix dactylifera L.) extracts in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet.
9. Folic Acid; CDC
10. Role of Potassium in Maintaining Health; Periodic Paralysis International
11. E Zarean, A Tarjan; Effect of Magnesium Supplement on Pregnancy Outcomes: A Randomized Control Trial; Adv Biomed Res
12. Arshad Rahmani et al.; Therapeutic effects of date fruits (Phoenix dactylifera) in the prevention of diseases via modulation of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-tumour activity; International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
13. Chinese Dates: A Traditional Functional Food
14. Izzaddinn E. Ahmed et al.;Effects of date fruit consumption on labour and vaginal delivery in Tabuk, KSA; Science Open
15. Alireza Bagherzadeh Karimi et al.;Effects of date fruit (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on labor and delivery outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis; NCBI
16. Sulfite Sensitivity Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ); Australian Society of Clinical Immunology And Allergy

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Moloko Mehlape

Moloko MehlapeMSc Dietetics

Moloko Mehlape is a registered dietitian in private practice with around nine years of experience in the field. Her special interest lies in nutrition education, sports nutrition, weight, and chronic disease management. She is a philanthropist passionate about making a positive impact in public health through nutrition. Dt. Mehlape has completed extensive formal education and training, and holds qualifications BSc...read full bio