Birth,  Food,  Pregnancy

Eating 6 Dates Could Improve your Labour and Birth

Improve your labour experience

Avoiding a long drawn out induction process is on many pregnant woman’s wish list. If you read my post the birth of a mother you will know I tried many things to prepare my body for labour. There are many methods that anecdotally bring on labour; going for walks, eating spicy food, getting amorous with your significant other, accepting cervical sweeps offered by your health care provider to name a few. But can a simple change to your diet really improve your chance of going into labour naturally?

I tried eating 6 dates a day from 36 weeks to improve my chances of a natural birth. 

Medical Evidence

It seems that eating dates in the last few weeks of your pregnancy can improve your chances of avoiding induction of labour. An initial study carried out in 2011 implied that eating dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy reduced the need for induction of labour and shortened the length of the latent phase of labour (commonly referred to as early labour, before your cervix reaches 4 cm dilation).

This has been supported by a further randomised controlled trial in 2017, which found that the group of women who consumed dates late in pregnancy experienced less use of oxytocin to augment labour. Meaning that labour was less medicalised and progressed more normally. Despite being a small study of only 154 women, no adverse effects were noted from eating the dates. It is a cheap and easy way to prepare your body for labour in the final few weeks of pregnancy, with no negative effects.

So what are you waiting for?! Once you reach 36 weeks gestation, try to eat 6 dates per day.

eating dates can improve your birth

Recipe Ideas

If you get bored of just eating dates on their own, here are some ideas I tried!!

  1. Chopped up and mixed in with various cereal
  2. Sprinkled on your favourite dessert, like sticky toffee pudding.
  3. Mixed in with yoghurt.
  4. Blended in a smoothie.
  5. Sprinkled on top of peanut butter on toast.
  6. Make your own cereal bars


Nuguelis Razali, Siti Hayati Mohd Nahwari, Sofiah Sulaiman & Jamiyah Hassan (2017) Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 37:5, 595-600, DOI: 10.1080/01443615.2017.1283304

Al-Kuran, L. Al-Mehaisen, H. Bawadi, S. Beitawi & Z. Amarin (2011) The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 31:1, 29-31, DOI: 10.3109/01443615.2010.522267


Do you have any tips or tricks for getting your body ready for labour? Let me know what you tried and if it worked for you.

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