pregnant women who eat dates have easier, faster labours

Dates are delicious, but they’re not just a delicious, healthy snack. They have a very ancient reputation for helping childbirth that, it turns out, just may be true.



Dates have been eaten for over 4,000 years. In the Qur’an, Mary is counselled to eat dates to ease the birth of Jesus. Today, science is giving the same advice.

Why? What effect does eating dates have on delivery?

Sixty-nine pregnant women ate six dates a day for four weeks before their estimated delivery date. Another group of 45 women ate none. The women who ate the dates had significantly greater cervical dilation: 3.52 cm versus 2.02 cm. Spontaneous, or natural, labour occurred in 79% of the women who ate no dates but in a full 96% of the women who did. The women who ate the dates also needed significantly less drugs: 47% of women who did not eat dates had to be administered prostin/oxytocin while only 28% of women who ate dates did. The women who ate dates also had shorter labours: latent phase of the first stage of labour was 906 minutes in the no date group but a significantly shorter 510 minutes in the date group.

This study suggests that eating six dates a day during the last four weeks before labour encourages easier, faster deliveries.

And, it’s not the first. Other studies have also found greater cervical dilation from eating dates (JMRH 2014;2:150-6). And a new controlled study, while not finding that dates bring about faster labour, did find that eating dates late in a pregnancy “positively affect[s] the outcome of delivery and labour” by significantly reducing the need for labour augmentation with drugs (oxytocin). The study found that dates produced this important benefit without any adverse effect on the mother or the child (J Obstet Gynaecol 2017;37(5):595-600).


J Obstet Gynaecol 2011 ;31(1):29-31


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The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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