What if I tell you that eating one single magical food during your third trimester can increase your chances of spontaneous labor and significantly reduce your active labor time? I’m talking about dates, a must-have pregnancy superfood with innumerable benefits. So, how can dates boost your health and how many should you have daily? In this article, we’ve tried to cover everything about eating dates during pregnancy.
Nutritional Facts of Dates
As the sugar content in dates is high, many people wonder if they are a good choice. While it’s true that one date (weighing 8 grams) has 5 grams of sugar, they aren’t devoid of micronutrients. The USDA confirms that a single date provides 23 calories and has carbohydrates, fiber, protein, folate, iron, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
Are Dates Safe During Pregnancy?
Once you have conceived, being mindful of what you eat is mandatory. Several healthy foods that you generally eat can have adverse effects. So, what’s the connection between pregnancy and date fruit?
Luckily, there is no evidence that show eating dates is unsafe during pregnancy, On the contrary, dates can help you have a less complicated pregnancy. They can be a healthy substitute when you feel like having ice-cream or sweets.
Some people are allergic to dates and eating dates during pregnancy may trigger a reaction. So, when you are allergic, please avoid them. But if you are diabetic, you can have dates in moderation: 2-3 dates per day.
7 Proven Benefits of Eating Dates During Pregnancy
Whether you are pregnant or not – the benefits of dates are many. Other than helping you during your labor and delivery, these are some reasons why you should have dates in late pregnancy:
1. Regulates bowel movements
Irregularity in bowel movements is among the symptoms of pregnancy. It happens due to a rise in the levels of progesterone hormone in the female body. Progesterone slows down the contraction of muscles in your intestine and this leads to uneasiness and constipation.
Being high in fiber, dates are helpful for individuals suffering from irregular bowel movements. Research also proves that eating dates daily lowers the proportion of ammonia in a person’s stool, thus facilitating normal bowel movements.
2. Eases labor
Is there any link between dates and labor or is it just a myth? Let’s find out!
Certain compounds present in dates enhance oxytocin’s effects and thus promote healthy contractions. These compounds can also increase pain tolerance during labor. It will double your chances of having natural labor and you will have to apply less pressure when delivering your baby.
So, doctors recommend women to have dates every day in the later stages of their pregnancy to make the process of delivering a baby less painful. Therefore, you must have dates during the last four weeks of pregnancy.
3. Keeps microbial infections at bay
Microbial infections during pregnancy can cause several problems. Although antibiotic medicines are available to treat bacterial infections, what can be better than preventing infections in the first place?
Dates can provide natural resistance to various kinds of bacterial infections. The best thing about having dates is that you won’t have to deal with the side effects of antibiotics. So, clearly, they are a healthy choice during your late pregnancy.
4. Keeps your nerves healthy
During pregnancy, the female body needs enough potassium so that both the mother and the baby stay healthy. Dates are an incredible source of potassium and its essential for the nervous system to function properly. Other than dates, you can also have bananas to meet your body’s requirement of potassium.
5. Prevents piles
A lot of women suffer from piles during pregnancy and it occurs due to deficiency of fiber. As mentioned already, dates are rich in fiber. So, adding a few dates to your everyday diet will combat the formation of piles by ensuring smooth bowel movements.
6. Prevents anemia
Anemia due to iron deficiency is common among pregnant women. And your prenatal vitamin won’t be able to meet your body’s growing demands for iron. Having dates is a home remedy to ensure your body gets its daily dose of iron.
7. Keeps skin healthy
Outbreaks on your skin are normal during pregnancy. And opting for chemical treatments to get rid of acne is not an ideal solution. So, say yes to eating dates as they contain vitamins D and C. Both vitamins play a key role in nurturing your skin and keeping it hydrated.
8. Development of the baby’s teeth and bones
Eating a few dates is necessary for the proper development of the fetus in your womb. One of its many benefits during pregnancy is the formation of your baby’s bones and teeth.
Did you know?
Dates are rich in serotonin, calcium, and tannins and all these minerals contribute to a pregnant woman’s overall physical well-being.
The Right Way to Eat Dates During Pregnancy
Eating dates in late pregnancy is more beneficial than eating them in early pregnancy/ first trimester. In your second trimester, the chances of developing gestational diabetes are the highest. So, don’t have dates in excess during this stage. However, eating dates in third trimester is compulsory as dates help during labor.
So, how many dates during pregnancy should you eat? In a day, try having at least 6 dates for easier labor.
Side Effects of Overconsumption of Dates
There aren’t any adverse effects of having dates as long as you don’t have them in excess. Overeating dates can cause the following issues:
- Increased sugar levels
- increased gestational weight
- risk of suffering from gestational diabetes
- tooth decay (for people with poor dental hygiene)
Excessive intake of dates can lead to abdominal problems in someone with a weak digestive system. Dried dates also contain sulfite coating to prolong their shelf life. Studies have revealed that too much of sulfite intake may trigger allergic reactions and asthma.
Yummy Recipes with Dates
Bored of having plain dates every morning? There are several interesting ways to incorporate dates into your pre-delivery routine.
1. Dates cakes
If you love baking, add a handful of medjool dates to your cake batter and see the magic. You can savor the homemade cake with your green tea. To make it healthier and tastier, add other dried fruits, berries, and nuts.
2. Dates smoothie
Thanks to their nutritional value, smoothies are the easiest breakfast recipe. Mixing dates with your traditional smoothie recipe is a smart way of making it sweet without sugar. From oats smoothie to Greek yogurt smoothie – dates can enhance the taste of any ordinary dish. Just make sure you blend the dates well after removing their seeds and washing them thoroughly.
3. Dates dessert
For a soul-satisfying bite, you can also try stuffing dates with chopped pieces of pecans and walnuts. Dates, coconut, and nuts choco balls is a handy snack that you can store in an airtight jar and carry with you when you are outdoors. The crisp texture, the sweetness, and the nutty flavor of the balls will satisfy your cravings for chocolates.
Other Healthy Dried Fruits for Expecting Moms
A blissful pregnancy is all about maintaining a balanced diet with lots of dried fruits, fresh fruits, and protein. Dry fruits have several vital minerals, vitamins and healthy fats. They can significantly impact your health and your baby’s. So, besides dates, you should also eat almonds, raisins, prunes, figs, apricots, pistachios, walnuts, and cashews.
Therefore, when it comes to enjoying a sweet and nutritious snack as part of your pregnancy diet, try having dates. They are an excellent choice as eating dates may induce labor. And now you also know some amazing recipes to enhance the taste of dates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to eat dates during pregnancy?
Consuming dates during pregnancy is not just safe but also beneficial for your health and the health of your baby. So, you can start eating dates four weeks before your delivery as they are considered pregnancy safe foods.
Q. How many dates can be eaten during pregnancy daily?
If you have a sensitive stomach, consuming too many dates can upset your stomach. According to doctors, a pregnant woman may eat six dates a day after the 36th week of her pregnancy.