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How to Actually Induce Labor Naturally...Dates?

Guest Blog Post by Bri Towne

Bri Towne is a perinatal wellness expert empowering women to repair relationships with their minds, bodies, and food. She lives in Southern California with her husband and 4 children

There are a lot of ‘tricks’ for inducing labor floating around out in the world. I’ve heard everything from pineapples to certain teas and, every pregnant women’s favorite, sex. Unfortunately, most of these fall short of actually shortening our pregnancies. Babies stay in there until they’re fully cooked and ready to come out and there’s not much we can or should do to make things move along faster.

There are, however, things you can do and eat and drink as a pregnant mama to help facilitate an easier time of labor and birth. One of these ‘tricks’ that can actually work is the consumption of dates.

So, what are dates, exactly?

Dates are the stone-fruits of the date palm tree. They’re a naturally dried fruit. Meaning, they’re picked, cleaned, sorted and packaged right away and they end up with that ‘dried’ look as a result. That’s why you’ll find them in the produce section. Dates are naturally sweet with a very high sugar content. As dates are dried, the sugars become more concentrated. That’s why you see lots of green smoothie recipes calling for a couple of dates to sweeten things up. Dates are a great natural sweetener option for smoothies and even cookies, cakes, and nut milks.

Along with a ton of sugar, dates contain a good amount of fiber (keeping them low on the glycemic index), they ’re low in fat and packed with nutrients like potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6, niacin, calcium, iron and vitamin K.

So why dates in late pregnancy?

Dates do a few things for the body during pregnancy. Dates contain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids which provide and reserve energy which can be helpful in saving energy and strengthening uterus muscles. Dates also contain hormones which help the uterus stretch and be prepared for labor and delivery.

One study even showed that date pollen extract increases the pain threshold!

The main reason dates are recommended for women close to delivery is that that date fruit can influence oxytocin receptors and accelerate the onset of contractions more easily. Basically, if you eat dates late in pregnancy your cervix will have an easier time ripening.

Often times, labor is induced by administering oxytocin - so if you’re consuming dates in the last month or so of pregnancy, your oxytocin levels can be naturally elevated leading to a decreased chance of being chemically induced.

Dates are delicious on their own or can be added to smoothies, salads, granola and more! And even if it doesn’t end up helping to have that baby faster, they’re still a nutrient dense alternative to sugar or other sweeteners!

Iron Pumping Smoothie (serves 2)

1 cup leafy greens

1 inch of peeled ginger root

a handful of chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple or mango

2-3 dates

coconut water

juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

I like mixing the greens and coconut water first then adding the frozen ingredients and then the rest. If you're using a good high-speed blender, the order shouldn't matter much. Add more or less coconut water if needed.

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