Arghghgh I am going to pull my hair out if I see another post about pregnant women and the ‘magical’ dates!
I thought it was the final straw when I heard a wonderful, pre-natal yoga teacher telling their mums to eat dates to ‘improve their birth’, but then I heard from one of my pregnant mum clients that even a MIDWIFE was advising her to eat them to ‘improve birth’ too!
I think this is a perfect example of how very limited and small research indications can grow a trend that might not even be founded in much at all!
QUOTE from Evidence based Birth on this topic: “In summary, it probably doesn’t hurt to dates … and it may actually help in these small studies that we saw.”
Not that eating a date will harm you. I’m not “anti-dates”. I’m just “anti blindly grabbing information as if it is pure fact”.
I mean eat some dates, yes, go ahead and let the placebo effect (or possible real effect? who knows) reduce your labour length – if you believe in the magic of the dates strongly enough, then dates WILL help your birth!
I just want people to stop and reflect that true, fully, informed decision making, needs to be based on well rounded considerations and logical thinking, as well as evidence (hopefully strong) and well meaning advice.
Don’t eat dates blindly, don’t take ANY kind of advice blindly. Even if it’s from a doctor or a midwife.
Why am I taking interest in the dates craze? A very esteemed midwife and researcher highlighted to our birth professionals group that the ‘date eating, birth improving paper’ was done on a study group where the study group had nutritional and dietary deficits – and therefore, she suggested that we consider that the dates may have had a significant effect simply because they were giving the women much needed sugar and nutrient benefits.
In other words, if they had used raisins in the study, then raisins could have been the latest pregnancy craze! (and imagine how chuffed the raisin industry would have been!)
Personally I have been guilty of sharing links without thorough reading, reflection or personal research myself…
We are all human!
In fact a long time ago, at the beginning of the craze, I saw the ‘date article’ being shared around and as a birth educator I shared it to my audience. Then, as a pregnant woman, I bought and ate some dates!! Hey it sounded like a great idea (plus I happen to love dried fruit and it made my breakfast suddenly far more yummy!).
And after one such delicious breakfast, heavily laden with delicious, sugary dates (which are said to be low GI), I did a random glucose finger prick test at the chemist (I was self monitoring to check for any risk of Gestational Diabetes) and I had a concerning reading, the first thing the nurse asked was “what did you have for breakfast?”.
Yes, folks, dates can compromise your sugar and insulin levels.
So be careful before upping your intake.. and by the way, those suckers are addictive – just like any sugar is.. and it all starts with just one or two and escalates from there.
I love looking at various sides of any topic,
All the best,
The studies that show small indications of possibly dates being beneficial:
Al-Kuran, O., et al. (2011). “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery.” J Obstet Gynaecol 31(1): 29-31.
Khadem N, Sharaphy A, Latifnejad R, Hammod N, I R. 2007. Comparing the efficacy of dates and oxytocin in the management of postpartum hemorrhage. Shiraz E-Medical Journal 8:64–71.
Kordi M, Meybodi FA, Tara F, Shakeri MT. (2014). “The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on cervical ripening in nulliparous women.” Journal of Midwifery and Reproductive Health 2:150–156.
Razali, N., et al. (2017). “Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery.” J Obstet Gynaecol: 1-6.