Pregnant Mama: What can I do to prepare my body for labor?
SEM Community Doula: Dates.
Pregnant Mama: Dates? Like going out on dates with my husband?
SEM Community Doula: Well… Being intimate with your husband can certainly help prepare your body for labor… But that’s a whole other conversation! Dates, the fruit. See there was this study…
There was a small but significant study published in 2011 that considered the effect of dates on birth. It turns out that the effect is good! 69 women in 2007/2008 ate six dates per day beginning at 36 weeks. Overall, when compared to 45 women who did not eat dates, the women who did ate dates:
ᐧ Were more dilated when arriving at the hospital (3.52 cm vs. 2.02 cm)
ᐧ Were more likely to have their bag of waters intact (83% vs. 60%)
ᐧ Were more likely for labor to begin spontaneously (96% vs. 79%)
ᐧ Had shorter labors (8.5 hours vs. 15.1 hours)
ᐧ Were less likely to have pitocin (28% vs. 47%)
“It is concluded that the consumption of date fruit in the last four weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome.” We have even heard Certified Nurse Midwives recommend eating dates during pregnancy to help with late pregnancy constipation and even prevent postpartum hemorrhage.
When we direct clients to this study, they overwhelmingly decide that eating dates in the last weeks of pregnancy is a good idea.
But SIX dates?!
That’s a lot of dates!!
Even women who like dates struggle to eat six every day for four weeks. So to make things a little easier, we’ve put together some delicious, easy date recipes. We hope you enjoy them!
Banana Date Smoothie
3-4 pitted dates
1 cup milk (cow’s, almond, soy) or yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons Chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon, cocoa powder, or sea salt if desired.
Quinoa, Date, and Walnut Warm Cereal
3 Pitted and chopped dates
1 Tablespoon butter or ghee
½ Cup quinoa
¼ Cup chopped and roasted walnuts
1 Teaspoon maple syrup
1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add dates, quinoa, and walnuts and cook until the quinoa is slightly browned, stirring frequently.
2. Add 1 Cup water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.
3. Add maple syrup to taste. Serve.
Bacon-Wrapped Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates
8 Pitted dates
4 Slices bacon (cut in half)
2 Ounces goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 (or 375 for crispier bacon)
2. Fill dates with goat cheese.
2. Cut bacon in half. Wrap each stuffed date with bacon and secure with a toothpick.
3. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over. Bake another 10 minutes. Cool on paper towel for 5 minutes and serve.
Oatmeal Date Cookies
2 Cups flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
½ Teaspoon baking soda
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup dark brown sugar
¼ Cup honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 Cups old-fashioned oats
1 Cup dates (chopped)
1 Cup raisins
1 Cup walnuts (chopped)
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
3. Combine butter and both sugars, and beat until fluffy. Add honey, eggs, and vanilla. Gradually add in flour mixture. Stir in oats, dates, and any remaining ingredients.
4. Drop tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets, two inches apart and flatten slightly.
5. Bake cookies 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely and enjoy.
If you have any other favorite date recipes, we’d love for you to share them with us! Until then, happy cooking!