Pineapple, eggplant parmesan, the spiciest thing your heartburn can handle…before you fill your belly with these commonly believed labor-inducers, there’s another food you might consider adding to your plate. New mama, holistic nutritionist and health coach Brittany Mullins (aka @eatingbirdfood) is here to share how adding dates to her diet helped her body prepare for delivery.
When I was 36 weeks pregnant, I started eating 3-6 dates (70-80 grams) a day and I swear they helped ripen my cervix to prepare for delivery! At my 39 week appointment I was 70% effaced, at 40 weeks I was 80% effaced and Olivia’s labor was pretty fast for a first time mom. I was only in labor for about 13 hours. I arrived to the hospital fully dilated and she came out quickly after pushing for just 15 minutes.
So let’s dive into all things dates!
This article from Mama Natural has a ton of great information and links out interesting studies around dates and pregnancy. As an overview, dates have a lot of nutrients that are important for both the mama and the baby. Dates have minerals that contribute to the contraction of smooth muscles of the uterus and magnesium that helps ease pregnancy cramps. For the babe, dates have folate which ensures proper spinal cord development and potassium which helps build healthy bones. Studies showed that date eaters were 74% more effaced than non-date eaters upon admission… so crazy!
Above all else, I recommend checking with your doctor for their official recommendation! From what I’ve researched, it’s recommended to start eating more dates at week 36 of your pregnancy. Any kind of date is fine, just make sure you’re eating 70-80 grams to make a difference. (Source) 70-80 grams is about three medjool dates or six deglet noor dates, which are smaller. Medjool dates are my favorite because they taste like caramel.
I know many women have date fatigue after trying to eat a bunch of dates every day late in their pregnancy, but dates are anything but boring and you can have fun making a bunch of different treats to enjoy. If you’re looking for ways to get your dates in, I’ve got you covered with a variety of recipes and ideas.
4-Ingredient Samoas // Yep, these homemade Girl Scout cookies are made with only 4 ingredients and they taste better than the real deal! Each cookie has 1 date!
Date Caramel // Made with only four ingredients, this real-food caramel is perfect as a dip for apples or a topping for oatmeal.
Oatmeal Date Cookies // One of my favorite oat-based cookies that happens to be studded with dates.
Chocolate Covered Snickers Stuffed Dates // Like a healthy, homemade candy bar. These peanut butter stuffed dates are such a delicious treat.
Salted Caramel Oatmeal // If you think oatmeal is boring, try this recipe. It’ll change everything you think about oatmeal!
Healthy Date Shake // Made with frozen bananas instead of ice cream but you’d never know it!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates // Want savory + sweet? These goat cheese stuffed dates will hit the spot.
Homemade Coconut Chocolate Chip Larabars // These homemade Larabars require only five ingredients and take only minutes to make.
Energy Bites // One easy way to switch things up is to make a different energy bite with dates each week. I have so many different flavors to choose from including German Chocolate, Cranberry and Cookie Dough.
Need other ideas that don’t require a recipe at all? Add dates to your morning smoothie, dip dates into your favorite nut butter or put a peanut butter stuffed pretzel inside of a medjool date and enjoy!