Benefits of Eating Dates for Pregnancy and Labor
Dates may not be a fruit you usually keep on hand, but it deserves more attention than it gets, especially among pregnant women. Consider the benefits of eating dates for a healthy pregnancy and easier labor.
Why You Should Eat Dates When You’re Expecting
- Natural energy: Dates are one of the sweetest types of fruit, but since they’re also packed with fiber, the natural sugar doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike. Instead, you get a healthy, steady flow of energy, and you satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time!
- Constipation relief: High fiber foods also promote a healthy digestive system, thus helping prevent pregnancy-related constipation. Dates also keep you feeling full longer, reduce your cholesterol, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Birth defect prevention: Folate helps support healthy brain and spinal cord development in unborn babies. As a result, eating folate-rich dates before and during pregnancy can help prevent congenital disabilities.
- Bone development for the baby: Vitamin K is important for bone development and blood clotting. Consuming dates rich in this vitamin during pregnancy supports higher vitamin K levels when your baby is born. Continue eating dates while breastfeeding to pass even more of this vitamin on to your child.
- Anemia prevention: Dates contain some iron, which helps prevent anemia, or low red blood cell count. Iron also maintains hemoglobin in the body during pregnancy to strengthen you and your baby’s immune systems.
- Healthy water-salt balance: Potassium plays a role in water-salt levels and blood pressure. Eating dates can help prevent potassium deficiency for fewer muscle cramps and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- Blood pressure and blood sugar regulation: Magnesium is another vital nutrient needed during pregnancy to help avoid high blood pressure, preeclampsia, placental dysfunction, and premature labor.
- Shorter, easier labor: Eating dates during the last few weeks of pregnancy can help ripen the cervix and promote uterine contractions for a faster delivery. It also reduces the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
When and How to Eat Dates During Pregnancy
Dates are relatively high in sugar and calories, so don’t consume more than six per day during your pregnancy. It never hurts to ask your doctor about your desire to eat dates, especially if you have a high risk of gestational diabetes.
Dried dates are available at most grocery stores and are easy and convenient to eat. Stuffing dried dates with almonds or peanut butter is a great way to add protein to your snack. You can also blend dates into smoothies, chop them up into chicken salad, or add them to oatmeal cookies.
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