Dates During Pregnancy: Do They Really Ease Labor?

When it comes to childbirth we all want to have an easy, short, and healthy labor and delivery.

Luckily, there are a number of things we can do to help us achieve that, such as:

And now you can add one more thing to your list: Eating dates.

Yes, dates.

Eat dates during pregnancy for the best labor and birth

Have you ever thought to snack your way to an easier labor?

According to this study, women who ate 6 dates a day for the four weeks leading up to their due date were significantly more dilated and more likely to:

  • Have intact membranes upon admission to the hospital
  • Go into labor spontaneously
  • Avoid pitocin
  • And have a shorter first phase of labor

A 2014 study in the Journal of Midwifery & Reproductive Health looked at date consumption in late pregnancy as it related to cervical ripening, and it found that date eaters had:

Finally, a study in March 2017 supported all the initial findings. The authors of this study concluded that:

Dates fruit consumption during late pregnancy has been shown to positively affect the outcome of labour and delivery without adverse effect on the mother and child.”

Pretty awesome for just eating some dates, huh?

So why does eating dates during pregnancy help mamas-to-be?

Researchers have found that date fruit has an oxytocin-like effect on the body, leading to increased sensitivity of the uterus. It also helps stimulate uterine contractions, and reduces postpartum hemorrhage the way oxytocin does. They also found that it contains many nutritional benefits for pregnant mamas.

“Date fruit contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids, which are involved in saving and supplying energy and construction of prostaglandins. In addition, serotonin, tannin, and calcium in date fruit contribute to the contraction of smooth muscles of the uterus. Date fruit also has a laxative effect, which stimulates uterine contractions.”

Dates also contain:

  • Natural sugars (fructose) that easily break down in the body and won’t spike blood sugar levels but will offer high energy, which makes dates during pregnancy or  labor an excellent choice.
  • Fiber – Helps you stay full, relieves constipation, and lowers your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
  • Potassium – One of the best electrolytes. It helps maintain water/salt balance which helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Magnesium – Support muscular health and helps to alleviate muscle spasms and cramps in pregnancy.
  • Folate  – Getting enough folate will ensure that your baby’s spinal cord matures properly, avoiding neural tube defects.
  • Vitamin K – maintains proper blood clotting and healthy bones.

When should I start eating dates during pregnancy?

In the study referenced above, pregnant women began eating dates four weeks before their estimated due date. In other words, at 36 weeks pregnant they began eating six date fruits per day.

Of course, you can begin eating dates earlier in your pregnancy if you like. Keep in mind that dates are high in sugar, so if you have blood sugar issues or if you’re worried about group b strep, go easy on them early in pregnancy. But, by all means, start eating 6 dates a day from 36 weeks on!

Where can I buy good organic dried dates?

You can’t go wrong with any of the organic options at the top of this page. ?

high quality organic dates during pregnancy

How to eat dates during pregnancy

Dates are a healthy and delicious snack, so how can you add them to your diet? Actually, it’s pretty easy since they are sweet like candy.

  • Add dates during pregnancy in this awesome oatmeal recipe.
  • Add dates to replace sugar in your favorite recipe or to sweeten your homemade almond milk.
  • Use dates and nuts to make an easy pie crust in the food processor.
  • Add soaked dates to homemade nut butter for a sweet treat.
  • Add dates to sweeten homemade salad dressing.
  • Add dates during pregnancy easily with these yummy (paleo friendly) bars made from dates.

Don’t like the taste of dates?

Try eating your daily dates with peanut butter (or any nut butter) and a little sea salt. A mama in our birth class tried this, and she went from barely choking her dates down to considering them a delicious snack! And it didn’t require busting out a food processor or any other hard work. Double win! 

Need more ideas for an easy labor?

Try these…

  1. Exercise – Regular exercise before and during pregnancy can help shorten labor, ease discomfort and avoid exhaustion during labor. Try these 7 easy exercises to prepare for birth.
  2. Get baby into an optimal position – Often baby’s position is the reason women go past their due date, have difficult labors or require induction. Though there’s no such thing as easy childbirth, getting baby in the best position before labor begins give you the best chance for a shorter and easier labor.
  3. Choose the right childbirth class and pain management technique – The right childbirth class should inform and empower you to make the best decisions for you and your baby and helps you to gain confidence in your body’s ability to give birth. IT should also help you learn some natural pain coping techniques (way better than chemical ones!).
  4. Excellent nutrition – Being properly nourished with real food can go a long way to keeping your strength up and increase stamina during labor.

What other moms have to say about dates during pregnancy:

I asked the moms on my Facebook page if they ate dates during pregnancy, and if they think the dates helped. Here are some of their responses.

  • I faithfully ate the recommended amount of dates each day from 35 weeks on and my nurse and Doctor both commented on how soft my cervix was! I had a great labor and delivery and dates definitely played a role in that. – Ginnette L.
  • Dates are awesome to eat while pregnant! All 3 times I ate dates in the last month or so of pregnancy. My labors were all very quick (each 4 hrs from the first contraction to delivery). -Barbara A.
  • I always joke that the only reason my labors were quick and easy was because of my date obsession. My longest labor was 9 hrs, but I was induced. My shortest was 3 hours and I only has to push 4 times. With my nine hour labor I didn’t have to push once…he just came out on his own. -Rochelle H.
  • Ate 6 a day from week 35 on. Labor was 1.5 hours and no tearing. Water broke right before baby’s head came out. – Nicole M.
  • I ate at least 6 a day, sometimes more the last 5 weeks of pregnancy. It definitely helped with dilating and thinning. After 5 hours of labor I was dilated 6-7 and 100% effaced. In another half hour I was complete! I give the dates a lot of credit for that. My doctor commented on how soft my cervix was whenever he checked me those last few weeks. – Michelle T.
  • I ate them almost everyday, and my doctor said I effaced a lot faster than other first time moms. When I went into labor I was already 80%! – Trisha P.

Ready to rock your birth? Download our natural playbook!

How about you?

Did you eat dates during pregnancy? Do you think it made your labor easier?



About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

Midwife Maura Winkler CNM Mama Natural

Reviewed By
Maura Winkler, CNM, IBCLC

Maura Winkler, CNM, CD, IBCLC is a Certified Nurse Midwife, Registered Nurse, Certified Doula, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, wife and mother of two.

Learn to have an amazing birth

(without leaving your couch)


Add a Comment
  1. I have a UTI ..36 week it safe to eat dates. .plc reply

    • I would talk to your doctor or midwife. Sugar, even natural, can feed bad bacteria.

  2. Recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes, diet controlled, baby measuring 3 weeks ahead at 31 weeks, have another growth scan booked for next week at 35+ weeks. In your opinion would I be wise avoiding dates with a large baby? (been drinking RLT since week 26 this is baby no.5).

    • If you’re testing your sugars, see how your body tolerates the dates.

  3. Hi quick question – did you try the dates remedies yourself or did you come across it after both of your births? Thanks a lot.

    • Read the labels and go with whichever one fits what you’re looking for.

  4. Hi did this I started eating dates at 37 weeks I ate 6 dates a day or them into smoothies. I bought the brand food to live, great soft dates. Anyways, I went into spontaneous labor, I had easy early labor for 10 hrs lil pain and then my active labor lasted about an hour and a half and 4 pushes later he was out I would definitely give this a shot I think it made all the difference for me.

  5. Does it have to be organic and also, is it still likely to be beneficial if I eat deglet dates instead of madjool? Thank you!

  6. I have gestitonal diabetes im 31weeks now can i eat dates and how much a day please kindly help im ao tensed

    • That would really depend on how your body processes the sugar in the dates. You could try starting with one and working your way up as tolerated.

      • Dear Team Mama Natural,

        Please update your article. You should caution women who have medium to large babies, without the presence of diabetes, not to use the dates! Based on reading this article, I did eat 3-4 dates a day for the last few weeks of pregnancy. I had a 12 lb baby. That’s a good pound and a half to 2 pounds over the weight of my other babies. I didn’t do anything else significantly different than with my previous pregnancies. I did not test positive for gestational diabetes. I did not make the connection to the dates until my friend had an 11 pound baby. She also ate 3-4 dates a day for the last few weeks. Her babies are more on average 8-9 pounds usually. Neither of us tore, but we also didn’t have easy labor and deliveries. They were actually pretty intense. It did go fast for me, but it wasn’t painless. The baby also had shoulder dystocia and high bilirubin, partially due to bruising from coming down the birth canal so quickly and needing assistance to be born. I would highly caution women from using dates, unless they have low birth weight babies to begin with. I will not be eating dates in the last weeks if I become pregnant again. It is not worth it! After having the goal of having the baby to be born naturally at home, we ended up with a 5 day stay in the NICU because of jaundice… and multiple blood tests and screenings and all the trauma that involved, to be told I had a perfectly healthy newborn baby, with high bilirubin who happened to be bigger than average. Thanks, but no thanks!

        • Yep, some woman just make bigger babies. It’s unlikely that the dates alone would cause a baby to be on the large size but, for your own peace of mind, I 100% understand why you’d avoid them in the future. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

    • Dates are shown to balance insulin , so you should be able to get away with eating them, yay!If you can start slowly, test your blood sugar tolerance? But it should be okay! Just don’t eat any concentrated sugars- like pop, juice, syrups, or junk foods to confuse the readings.
      good luck!

  7. I am 36 weeks pregnant and I have gestational diabetes. I LOVE making date/nut bars but I typically stay away from them while pregnant due to the diabetes… is there a way I can ge the benefits of dates without a spike in blood sugar?

  8. I am 32 weeks but have group b strep how many dates would be recommended?

    • I wouldn’t see how being GBS+ would change the number of dates.

  9. 36 weeks and started eating dates…I am middle eastern so dates are very much a part of our diets. We pit them then stuff them with a walnut and eat them with lebne (plain yogurt). I skip the walnut but the date with the lebne is amazing. FYI

  10. Is also wondering if you can use Deglet Noor dates? Or does it have to be Medjool? Thanks!

  11. Do they have to be medjool, or do delect noor dates work as well? I’ve heard from some people that it’s only the medjool dates.

  12. do they still work if they are baked? lets say, wrapped in bacon (its sooooo good) or used a sweetener for cake or cookies?

  13. At one point you mentioned being careful if you’re watching your blood sugar or are worried about the group b strep. How does having the group b strep affect taking the dates?

    • Group B Strep is a bacteria and bacteria feeds on sugar. If one is Group B Strep positive, limiting ones sugar intake is a good idea.

  14. Labored for 18hrs with first child. Ate dates with second pregnancy and only labored 2 hrs. Was so surprised I barely made it to the hospital. Pushed twice and she was here. The midwives made the comment that they had never seen a birth go that much faster than the first because she was bigger than my first. Third child I was too scared to do anything to make labor faster as I didn’t want to have the kid in the car! So I didn’t eat dates and labored for 8 hrs. 8 hrs wasn’t bad but man did 2 hrs seem much better! This time around I am back to eating my dates! I will just be sure to jump in the car and get to the hospital ASAP instead of doing any laboring at home. Man dates def work!

  15. For those wondering, this is very true. My wife was in labor and it was an intense time for both of us. I had dates on hand, and after a few bites I instantly could bear all the nagging and complaints my wife threw my way. It’s definitely a super food. Never leave the home without them.

    • hahahahaha

  16. Can I just eat the dates by itself without any other ingredients? Also can you eat more then 6 a day?

  17. Give it a try ladies!! I just gave birth to my eighth child…. and wow…what a different labour and birth I had this time!

    I was taking a homeopathic easy birth spray ( which I had taken for my previous 3 pregnancies).

    Also raspberry leaf tincture in the last few weeks.

    But the dates were a first for me and the main thing I did different. 6 dried dates a day for the last few weeks.

    From usually long labours to this time giving birth not quite one hour after arriving at the hospital. The pain came on regular and quite intense about an hour before leaving home. I usually would give birth several hours after arriving in hospital but not so this time…..and 2nd stage was so quick. All over in a few minutes. Even though his head was bigger than usual due to coming so quickly not getting a chance to mold, I had no tearing. He was a healthy alert little baby right from birth with an Apgar score of 10.

    In the last 3 months I also followed a predominantly no sugar, lower carb, THM eating plan. This helped me to not keep packing on the weight and I felt so much better.

    Also studying Ju Ju Sundin’s book ‘Birth Skills’ helped me once more – empowering.

    If we have any more children I will definitely be eating the dates and taking the raspberry leaf tincture again – what is there to lose?! Also mostly doing the THM eating plan.

    • Wow! I was wondering about this. I am not eating sugar / low carb as well and I am nervous about eating dates everyday for 4 weeks because of the sugar. I am definitely going to try it out!

  18. I have delivered normally twice for my 1st and 2nd gravida. I failed on my last 3rd and 4th gravida went for ceasarian.
    I am now 25weeks expecting my fifth child.
    Will eating dates help me go back to normal delivery

    • A supportive provider and birth team will help you achieve a VBAC, if that’s your goal!

      • I have completed my 7th month…plz give me right advise for a perfect vbac….I have my first baby with normal delivery.and and second was cesarean before 4 years and six months….and I want to my third baby with vbac. Plz help me..,can I do butterfly pose..regularly

        • I wish there was such a thing as a perfect VBAC. Having a VBAC supportive provider and plenty of support from your partner and a doula will definitely help. Good luck!

  19. I SWEAR by dates as one of the reasons I had a natural labor and delivery. I started eating my 6 dates at 32 or 34 weeks. My dr. commented that my cervix was very soft at one of my last appointments before I gave birth. when the contractions started, I labored at home for 5-6 hrs. before heading to the hospital. I didn’t think my labor was that progressed but when they checked me after I arrived, I was already 7 cm. dialated! I labored for about 4 more hours and then pushed for about 2 (that was the only part I was not happy about, I wished my pushing time was shorter) but it was 13 hrs. TOTAL (including pushing) with my first baby!

    • That’s great! What kind of dates exactly did you eat ans were they organic?

  20. i am in my 35 weeks, please can i eat the dry dates without combining with anything else? i am in Nigeria and see dates been sold just dried. can i get the dry dates as snacks and still get a good result of easy labour. Thank you

    • They used dried dates for the study so, yes absolutely!

  21. I ate dates from about 34 weeks on for my second pregnancy. I didn’t do 6 a day since that is a lot of sugar but did 3-4 instead. My Labor was 2.5 hours from first contraction to delivery. Luckily we had a planned home birth but mid-wife didn’t quite make it in time. Had we done Hospital, I’m pretty sure he would have been born in the car.

  22. Do you have to mix the dates in a recipe or can you eat them alone without preparation?

  23. Sorry, what is the correlation between eating dates and strep b in early pregnancy? I read that and was confused. Thanks.

    • It’s rhe sugar content. Group B loves sugar.

  24. I recommend mamas to eat 7 and not 6 dates a day. In coran, when the maryam the mama of Jesus was giving birth to her child under a palm tree , she ate dates for an easy delivery.

    • Khoka: I would love to see some historic citations for that.

      • “The pains of labour drove her to the trunk of a date-palm. She exclaimed: “Oh, if only I had died before this time and was something discarded and forgotten!” A voice called out to her from under her: “Do not grieve. Your Lord has placed a small stream at your feet. Shake the trunk of the palm toward you, and fresh, ripe dates will drop down to you. Eat and drink, and delight your eyes. If you should see anyone at all, just say: ‘I have made a vow of abstinence to the All-Merciful, and [so] today I will not speak to any human being.’” – (Quran 19:23-26)

        I know that doesn’t help with the number of dates we’re supposed to eat, but it’s a quote from the Quran where God tells Mary to eat dates while she’s in labor.

  25. I followed ur blog during my last pregnancy, ate 6 dates/day from 35weeks hopin to Have a natural birth bcos i had Csection for my first birth n d doctor had planned for a repeat csection if i didnt fall into labor spontaneously n shud i pass my due date bcos i had a post dated pregnancy in my first pregnancy, induced n ended up avin csection due to fetal distress.
    But to my suprise, i fell into labor spontaneoslyy b4 my due date,d midwives n doctor commented my cervix was very soft, was even 2cm dilated b4 labor started, i got to d hospital 6cm dilated b4 i cud imagine i had my baby girl naturally without any intervention not even intravenous fluid. Thanks so much for dz article.

  26. Can i eat dates im 30weeks now?

    • Absolutely!

  27. Please I am a Nigerian and where can I get red raspberry leaf tea for my wife. She is at her 21st week going to 22nd week. Your immediate reply will help us a lot. Thanks.

    • You can get it on Amazon

  28. I am 39weeks and I just heard about dates and it’s effectiveness.. can I start now and how many per day please?

  29. I ate dates from 38 weeks. I felt like I started eating them late so I doubled the amount. I ate about 6-7 in the morning and another 6-7 dates in the evening. My labour was 3 hours and pushing was 5 minutes. I definitely recommend eating dates for labour. My first labour was 36 hours and I was pushing for almost 3 hours. I think it definitely helped me the second time!

  30. I am 40weeks old and haven’t been eating dates just found out abaut them now kindly advise how should I ease labour besides exercise

  31. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and just found out that I tested positive for strep b. Should I stop eating dates? I started last week at 36 weeks. Thank you.

    • I don’t see any reason to stop eating the dates.

      • Thank you!

      • I’m 25 weeks pregnant and my doctor told me my baby head and body is too small. Please wot should I do to make d grow

    • i was strep B positive and I did ate my dates faithfully. I had no issues

  32. I’m 35.5 wks and will be induced at 37 wks for cholestasis. Has dates helped anyone with being induced? Did it speed the process along?

  33. Can the dates be cooked or do they have to be eaten raw?

    • That’s a good question. I’m fairly sure the studies were for raw dates.

  34. I’ve had two C-section, and I’m 34 weeks now for my third baby, can I start eating dates n the raspberry leaf tea? Cos I will love to have a vaginal birth this time n a quick one.

  35. Amazing education. God bless us all

  36. What is the connection between dates and Group B strep?

  37. Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 dmelm

  38. My last baby came in such a hurry that I had to wonder if I had eaten too many dates! It sure seemed like they were effective. Labor began with membranes rupturing at home after weeks of false labor. Went to hospital then. I was walking the hospital halls to encourage labor to continue and 10 minutes later the nurses were racing to my room to get there in time for the delivery. Dilation was nearly pain-free… I think I would eat dates again but would plan on going to hospital at first sign of labor.

    • Wow! Was it your first baby?!

  39. I’m wondering if anyone else gets bad gas (does not smell good!) from eating dates. I really want to eat them, but … my husband isn’t a fan.

    • Yes I got gas too from eating them but I did anyways.

  40. During my second pregnancy I ate 6 dates a day, starting from week 36 and drank raspberry leaf tea. Oh boy, the delivery was quick! When we came to the hospital I was 5-6cm dilated. 30 mins later 10 cm and was able to push! When my baby boy was out I said to the doctors I could do it again. Never had such thoughts the first time around (got induced and had an epidural). I really think those two products helped to prepare my body for a smooth delivery and recovery. I still think about the birth as an amazing experience. And Genevieve, thank you for your book, it helped me also a lot to prepare (especially psychologicaly).

  41. informative post thanks for sharing

  42. I’ve been following your blog for around four years. With my third child, I ate a Approximately eight dates daily for my entire third trimester, minus one week. I had a very drawn-out early labor of 12 hours. When things picked up, oh, did they pick up. I would try this again if I ever have another one, simply because I like dates and there’s nothing to lose.

  43. Wow, research from a country with a large date export industry saying dates are good for you.
    In other news- gullible is not actually in the dictionary!

    • These papers were reviewed in a double-blind process for the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology before being approved for publication. Do you think the reviewers of both articles were also biased in favour of dates? The journal is published out of Britain, and most of its editors are British and Australian. Do you think they’re biased too?

      By the way, do you also discredit all American research supporting the use of American-made drugs?

      • Oh! And are people on here biased too? Date is good generally.

    • I believe there has been a lot of research on this and it’s been scientifically proven with number and everything that this does work

    • I don’t like commenting but yours got doing just that now.
      These studies are just emerging of recents, however, it was mentioned over 1400 yrs back that when Mary the mother jesus (pbuh) went into labour she was sent dates by God to relieve her of the pain.
      Also, people are commenting on the effectiveness of it, so, that’s enough support I suppose.

  44. Are there any grand multips who have used dates in their 5+ pregnancies? I’ve read from midwives who work with grand multips and great grand multips (mostly the Amish) that the early phase of labor for GMs and GGMs is usually days long and then active labor can go really quick? By that time… exhaustion sets in. Just wondering if moms prone to prodromal labor have noticed a difference by eating dates? I never have and my last 2 labors were long and difficult. Just started dates at 36 weeks, and hoping for a different experience. In reading the comments, most have had at the most 4 babies, so if there are any who have had 5-9 babies, please share.

    • Expecting #5 in about 4 weeks (8/1/2017). I ate dates at the end of my last pregnancy with great results (another quick birth and recovery, but most notably – NO after birth pains!!!). Will keep you posted 🙂

    • Hi, i am on my 8th baby.. i am trying the date thing for the first time.. i usually have long early phase labors bt once in active labor i can go quick. im 36 +3 days and my babys usually come at 37 weeks for some reason ( all good sizes over 7 lbs and healthy no breathing complications ) i hope i started them early enough to see a difference.. i started at 35 weeks but i can keep you posted

      • Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  45. Hello! Very cool – I’m excited to try this out. However, I was just tested positive for Group B so why do women need to watch their date intake if Group B Positive?


    • I’m interested to know why too! What does being GBS+ have to do with eating dates?

      • I would imagine that has to do with the sugar content of the dates. Sugar feeds bad bacteria aka GBS

        • I understood from my doctor that GBS was not a “bad bacteria.” In other words its presence wasn’t an indicator of infection, but just that some people have it naturally on their skin whereas others don’t…

  46. Hi! I’m scheduled to be induced at 38 weeks. Is it okay to start eating dates at 34 weeks? Or should I still wait until I’m 36 weeks?

  47. I’m 36 weeks today and still at work feeling great! I have a box of rlt and would like to know when I should start the tea and dates. Last day of work is June 6th and I’m due June 14th. I want to make sure I can finish work so any recommendations on how many of each per day or week? I do not want to have this baby earlier than June 6th. I’m a teacher so it’s better this way plus I don’t have to go thru the horrible paperwork and wringer with my job if I have the baby after school is out. Any suggestions?

    • High amounts of magnesium have been shown to stop early labour so I would suggest having magnesium each day until June 6th then stop.

      As too the dates and raspberry leaf tea, you should be fine to start that now.
      Do you 6 dates a day but start at one cup of rlt first week, 2 cups second week and 3 cups from 6th onwards to labour ?


  48. I ate 6 dates a day from 36 weeks and had a pretty easy birth, although eating them didn’t stop me going over due unfortunately. My cervix however was “paper thin” and dilated steadily throughout my labour. From being in established labour my little boy was born about 7 hours later – i didn’t think that was too bad for my first! Will definitely do it again (even though I don’t really like the taste!).

  49. Does this need to be a specific kind of date? Would Chinese dates (red dates or jujube) work?

  50. I’m 33 weeks along with my 2nd pregnancy and totally going to try this! I’m glad I came across this post and comments! I was induced with my first at 41weeks and had an epidural, 8 hours start to finish and no tearing. It was great and such a happy, fun time, but I hated having the IV and not being able to walk until 12 hours after giving birth meant I had that IV for a long time! So I’ve been considering natural birth this time around, and want to try anything that will help it go smoothly!

    • Hi Im 33 wks along also… When will you start eating them? I know it says 36 wks but wanna just starn now! ?

  51. I do eat dates during my pregnancy. Starting as early as possible and I believe dates play an important things on my health, body and baby during my pregnancy. Feel really energetic during that period. Ahh..memory.

    • How early did you start??

  52. I’m 37 weeks pregnant today. Im very excited to try z dates. I’ll be out to buy it tomorrow. I’ll definitely let u know if they work.

  53. I ate dates last 2 pregnancies and the results were unbelievable. I’ll talk about the last. I went to the hospital and was only 2 cms. After about6 hrs of relaxing, sneaking to eat dates and drink water as Mary mother of Christ was told im Qur’an, the doctor came and said I was 7 cms and asked if I couldn’t feel those strong contractions…. the head doctor then comes in and said either they induce my labor or I go home cause I didnt seem in labor although I was7 cmn open. That’s whenI felt obligated to let them break my water and the intense pain came and I Had him after an hr and half. Until this day I dislike that doctor for ripping me of seeing what was going to happen. Anyway I am now 33 weeks pregnant n taking dates off and on… will take regulary God willing at 35 and hoping for great outcome as I am going to try homebirth

  54. I snacked on dates during my labors with my son and daughter! I ate dates and cashews and dark chocolate. I had not heard this before, but I’ll definitely be eating dates again during my labor with #3

  55. I love seeing all these positive comments! i am currently 14 weeks pregnant and have already started 3 cups of raspberry leaf tea a day. i will start 6 dates a day at week 36 as well as 5 cups of RLT when i hit my third trimester. i am hoping for a normal vaginal delivery. my first was an induction following a csection for posterior positioning. i am trying so hard this pregnancy to do as much as i can for optimal baby positioning as well as shortened labor times.

    • Melody,
      Just be careful with how early and how strong you start out with the dates and RLTea. I did both starting around 25 weeks and at 30 weeks I went into preterm labor! I dilated 4cm in about 3 hours and effaced to 75%. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks with several interventions to stop the progression of labor. After discharge I remain 4cm dilated and 75% effaced. Have been home on “bed rest”. I gave up the dates and tea for now, fearful to end up in early labor yet again. Luckily I am still pregnant now, only 9 days away from due date. Just a few days before due date I will start them both (dates & tea) again to make sure we don’t go past the due date because OB would want to induce, which I want to avoid. But already being halfway there in terms of dilation and effacement I’m sure it will only take a day or two for me to start things back up again. I should say that the stress of work and possibly some dehydration played a role in the preterm labor scare but once it started it went so fast. I blame that on the dates and tea. Good for when you want that to happen at full term but not good for being 30 weeks at risk of giving birth to a preemie!
      Also for optimal positioning consider seeking out a chiropractor who specializes in the Webster Technique.

      • I agree with the warning – all my research and advise from midwives has been to only start RLT week 35. Hope you have a great pregnancy and all the best with your little one.

        • I’m type 1 diabetic and will be induced two weeks early (38 weeks) would you start the RLT and dates at 32 weeks in relation to when they plan to induce?

  56. Was very useful comment and ppls stories. ..thank you lots of tips handy for me now…

  57. There seems to be a huge difference in calories and nutrients stats between deglet and medjool dates so which is it? 6 medjool dates is like 400 calories… Which seems pretty significant, but the other nutrition elements would be greater too, so I’m wondering what kind to buy? I had a really rough long vbac with my 2nd, so I’ll try anything to improve the next one… Which is a couple months away!

  58. Are dried dates as effective?

    • Sorry for the second post my phone had a hiccup after attempting to post the first time so I didn’t think it worked. Oops!

  59. I have tried fresh dates as well as dried and the fresh are a bit too much for me. I don’t think I could eat 6 a day. The dried however I find really great. Would eating dried dates every day instead of fresh still be as effective? Should I increase to 8 or 9 because they are dried?

  60. How many dates are in a 1/4 cup serving? I live in a small town and could only find dried dates. The serving size is 1/4 cup (130 calories). I ate some for the first time today but I’m not sure if that is the equivalent (or close enough) of 6 dates? Anyone know? Thank you!

    • Lia I was just making a recipe and one cup of dates was 9 pitted medjool dates. Hope this helps!

  61. Hi mummies. Would I say it’s rather unfortunate I am getting this information at my 39th week. My first childbirth wasn’t funny at all. I had a slow progressed labour which i was finaly induced and ending up with a c section. I just started eating the dates at this 39th week and still hope and pray I have a better experience with labour this time around.

  62. Are there specific type of dates I should buy? Also could I eat a couple a day starting at 30 weeks and move up to four a day then to six at 36 weeks?

  63. When i went to doctor for my first visit,she was suggested to avoid dates pappaya and pinapple….. And till now i never used dates. I am 25 week now. I dont knw why does my docror told that to avoid dates.. Is it bad effect in first trimester???? Anyine reply me. Can i eat now?

    • You need to start eating after 36 weeks.

    • Mos,
      Maybe your doctor doesn’t want you to risk preterm labor. I did both dates and raspberry leaf tea starting around 25 weeks and at 30 weeks I went into preterm labor! I dilated 4cm in about 3 hours and effaced to 75%. I was hospitalized for 2 weeks with several interventions to stop the progression of labor. After discharge I remain 4cm dilated and 75% effaced. Have been home on “bed rest”. I gave up the dates and tea for now, fearful to end up in early labor yet again. Luckily I am still pregnant now, only 9 days away from due date. Just a few days before due date I will start them both (dates & tea) again to make sure we don’t go past the due date because OB would want to induce, which I want to avoid. But already being halfway there in terms of dilation and effacement I’m sure it will only take a day or two for me to start things back up again. I should say that the stress of work and possibly some dehydration played a role in the preterm labor scare but once it started it went so fast. I blame that on the dates and tea. Good for when you want that to happen at full term but not good for being 30 weeks at risk of giving birth to a preemie!

    • I have been gorging on Medjool dates ever since the start of my pregnancy, and I am neither fat, nor at risk of premature labour, so I wouldn’t worry about it!
      Some days I have eaten a 250 gm box!
      They are full of fibre and nutrients and are a wholefood.

  64. I have been eating 5 dates a day since 36 weeks. Will let you know the outcome of my birth 🙂

    • How did it go? Did the dates seem to help you through delivery?

  65. Do Larabars count?

      • How many dates are in a Larabar? I searched far and wide for this info and can’t find anywhere!

  66. Yeah as farhiya mentioned… It is written in our religion that Mary, mother of Jesus was provided with a date tree as food when she was expecting therfore it is one of the best source of pregnancy foods. Although some mistaken it as a naturally hot food and say it’s bad in early pregnancy but that is not true, it is fine throughout the whole of pregnancy.

  67. Hey, I had a few dates everyday in my last pregnancy and my labour lasted 4 hours thanx to God. No stitches either as tear was very minor. 🙂

  68. Yes! I have been eating dates every day since about 34 weeks pregnant! Although I cannot say whether they will ease my labor and delivery (as I haven’t experienced it yet!) I really hope they do! This is my first baby so I have no idea what to expect but if I can potentially ease labor by doing something as easy as eating 6 dates a day ill do it! Plus they help with pregnancy constipation 😉 I really enjoyed this post!

    • Just gave birth to my 3rd child 2 days ago and although i hate dates, i am now recommending it to everyone. 2 hour labours, pushed once, no time for epudural thats how quick things went. I went in for a regular check up ( 1 week prior to due date) and was also told how soft my cervix was. Never heard that comment with the others. At 3 pm i was 2cm, 3:30 first contractions, 5 pm delivering. I ate 4 dates a day from week 36 and am truly thankful.

    • How was your pregnancy Leigh?

  69. I’m nearly 38 weeks in my first pregnancy and just started eating dates. My baby has already dropped but I’m not at all dilated or anything; is it too late for dates to be effective?

    • I’m not sure but it won’t hurt to eat them anyway. Let us know how it goes!

      • I guess they may have helped a little…I was 1cm today and the baby has dropped lower, and I’m having more frequent and stronger contractions, but was told my cervix is still too thick. I have a bad feeling I’m going to end up being induced. 🙁

        • It is YOUR body and YOUR baby. Induction is a medical procedure which you can rightfully refuse!!!
          Your doctor works for YOU!

          Ever heard of the cascade of interventions or the bishop score? Look these up! Keep educating yourself mama.

          My first labor started at 40 weeks 5 days. My second was 41 weeks and SIX days! 🙂 each baby hairs their own timing. Trust your body. You can do this!

          • Has their own timing*

          • I’m actually bringing someone with me and asking for a patient advocate to avoid as many interventions as possible/safe. 🙂 They won’t induce me until 10 days past the 40-week mark, and from what I’ve read, that seems reasonable. I’m just so confused because I have some signs of progressing labor, like back pain and more bathroom trips and losing the entire mucous plug, but it doesn’t feel like the baby is going anywhere. If anything, it feels like he’s actually moved back a little bit from where he was earlier, and today was my due date. 🙁

  70. YES. I believe this 100%. I ate dates faithfully every day from 36 weeks on. My second delivery was 2 hours, 4 minutes from start to finish. I pushed two times, no tearing and there she was! I blended them in smoothies with almond milk, almond or peanut butter, a banana, chia seeds, and 8 dates and it was a delicious treat every day.

  71. I wonder if it helps to start sooner? I’ve been eating dates and I’m only 28w. lol

  72. Does it matter the type of dates you eat? Thank you!

    • Not that I’m aware of. Just find high-quality rolle dates or pure dates.

  73. I’m a FTM, and currently breastfeeding my one week old. 🙂 I ate the recommended amount of dates the last month of my pregnancy and I think it definitely made the labor easier than it could have been. My baby was born in the posterior position, so pushing took about an hour, but the nurse and Doctor kept commenting on how soft my cervix was! So glad I followed this tip.

  74. I did this with my fourth, MUCH different experience than my first 3! I went into active labor at around 6:30, baby was out at 7:45! My recovery was insane as well, I felt so good, walking around right away with zero pain, and I only had minimal bleeding for 3-4 weeks! And I mean VERY minimal! I also drank red raspberry leaf tea like it was going outta style for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy, I definitely think the combo of the 2 made it how it was!

    • Reassured to read this comment! I am on baby four and have had three not so pleasent births so I am stating to eat dates now (35 weeks) in hope it helps things this time!

      • Yes! Although all my births have been at home (and #2 and #3 were very quick – 1.5 hrs from first strong contraction to delivery), I was dreading the contractions after birth since they tend to just get more and more intense with each baby. I have always consumed pregnancy/RRL tea in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters and taken arnica tabs immediately after baby, so I knew that wasn’t what helped, but I had virtually ZERO afterbirth contractions/pain after #4. The only thing different was eating 6 dates the last month or so (that birth was Oct 2014). Now expecting our 5th this summer and you better believe I’ll be eating dates (along with everything else I normally do! Can’t wait to see the outcome 🙂

  75. Hi mommies ! I’m 36 weeks pregnant. I’ve been reading about date for a faster and easier delivery. Today was the first day I ate them, and it’s so yuck! Any helpful tips to eating them?

    • I agree, they don’t taste very good haha I started throwing them into my daily green smoothies (I just do almond milk, spinach, strawberries, dates, and chai seeds) and you can barely taste them! It made eating dates 100x easier!

      • Oh also I am 37 weeks and last week during my 36 week apt I was dilated at 1cm and i totally think dates helped!! I take a raspberry leaf supplement, too, which I heard has similar benefits to dates. Fingers crossed for a quick and east labor!!


      • I cover mine in Nutella and roll in Corn Flakes. While the sugar in how I do it is rather high, it’s the only way I can get over the flavor and texture. Now I quite enjoy my little snack. 🙂

    • Try mixing them into a banana bread or smoothies.

    • I eat them with cream cheese. A personal trainer at my old job used to do this to break his fast during Ramadan and had me try it once way before I got pregnant. I’ve been craving it lately and it’s delicious.

    • I have started making date balls….I combined a few recipes I found online. I take 12 pitted dates, half cup peanuts, 1/4 cup raisins (could use more and I like the flavor of them but it adds more sugar and dates already have so much), and also add some chia seeds and fresh ground flax seed, and mix them in my heavy duty blender (I read you need a good one or it could burn up the motor). Then I measure them out into 12 balls, and then eat 4 a day plus an RXbar (which has 2 dates each). Or, I have also added dates to my Raisin Bran.

  76. No wonder it is mentioned in the Quran Allah ordered Mary (mother of Jesus the prophet) to shake the palm of the date trees durng her labour, so that the date fruits will fall off and she would eat the dates to ease her childbirth. Allah knows best what is good for us because He is the Creator.

    • That’s right, God loved Mary and Jesus, who were both Jewish.

    • The Mother of Christ was a virgin before and after the birth of Christ! He was God, He simply passed through her womb and out of her abdomen. Isam is a heresy out of the mouth of hell. Mohammed himself stated his revelations were given to him by Satan. Dates or no dates, The Mother of God was a perpetual virgin.

      • If miriam “mary” was a virgin, then why does the “new testament” go through the trouble of documenting the lineage of Joseph in attempt to prove that he is from the line of King David, subsequently attempting to prove that J could be the messiah?

        • God promised David that his lineage would be Savior of the world. Joseph (stepfather of Yeshua aka Jesus) was the downline of David. Yeshua had to be Jewish in order to fulfill prophecy, and Joseph was Jewish as well as Mary. He had to grow up in a Jewish household in order to be accepted by the Jewish leaders. Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant with Yeshua. This was to also fulfill prophecy that the mother of the Savior would be a virgin. There are multiple texts in the Old Testament about how the Savior would come. He had to come from a Jewish background (David), and He had to come through a virgin. Yeshua is God, and He has always been God and will always be God.
          “In the beginning was the Word (Yeshua) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. in Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1

      • We have to remember that Islam and Christianity were both prophesied to be at ends with each other. Ishmael and Jacob are both the sons of Abraham, and by God’s promise, were both meant to lead great nations. Ishmael is the father of lies-Islam while Jacob was a fulfilled promise by God. Jacob’s line, as we know, became Jews and then Christians.

    • That’s exactly what came to my mind!! God is Great. Our Lord is One. May the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon all the Prophets. Amen.

  77. I am definitely trying this

    • Me too I’m 10 weeks ?

  78. I ate dates from 36 weeks onwards and my contractions were not very painful. I didn’t even know when I reached active labour as everything sped up overnight and I didn’t make it to the hospital in time!!! I ended up giving birth in my mum’s living room with the paramedics arriving 10 mins before she came!

  79. I ate about 6 dates a day for the last month of my pregnancy and had a 4 hour delivery – with significantly little pain. Not only was it my first birth but I didn’t do hardly any other “tricks” to help prepare me for birth. Other than read about birthing and pray ALOT. So I will definitely be eating dates for my future pregnancies!

  80. Can i drink milk shake of date during 6 week of pregnancy?

  81. Anyone know how many dates are in a Larabar?

    • About 2.

  82. A lot of the women on here are commenting about dates helping for a first pregnancy, but what about subsequent pregnancies? I know we all want fast easy laboratory but did anyone have an experience where dates maybe made their labor too fast, like during a subsequent pregnancy?

    • I didn’t know anything about eating dates with my first 2 children, but tried it with my 3rd. I didn’t eat the full 6 a day, probably 2-4 most days from 36 weeks on, I don’t care for dates.

      My first pregnancy was 9 hours, but I was induced and had an epi. My 2nd was 12 hours, which about 5 of those hours intense painful contractions, I also had an epi with her. My 3rd labor was 6 hours, only the last 2 hours were painful contractions, I didn’t need an epi. I don’t know if that’s helpful, and who’s to say if the dates caused the faster/easier labor or if I’d have had that anyway. I’m 36 weeks with baby #4, and I have my bag of dates sitting on the counter, definitely trying them again!!

    • I ate dates starting around 33 weeks and had my daughter at 37.5 weeks. She is my first and I would say there is certainly a concern for having a labor that went too quickly. I woke up around 4:50am and had her in our bathroom at home at 5:39am, less than an hour later. Everything turned out alright but it almost seemed too quick and I’m not sure whether I’d want my future births to go so fast without warning like that, especially if they are faster. It probably wasn’t just because of the dates though!

  83. hi, i ate 6-7 dates per day at my first labour was easy and short,i just take 3 hours and got baby.insha Allah i eat it again this time around.

  84. I’m a first time mom and I ate 5-7 dates 35 weeks and after. I was 90% effaced and about 1.5cm dilated at my 39 week appointment, and I had my baby girl after 5.5hrs of active labor. My midwife ruptured my membranes once my body started involuntarily pushing. She was out in just two pushes! I’ve been telling everyone about my experience with dates!!

  85. I had 6 dates per day from week 36 in my last pregnancy. I was 1.5 cm only when I got to hospital and that was after being in labour already for 30 hours and in absolute agony. Labour was in total 40hrs and had to have drip to get things moving. Guess it can’t work for everyone or perhaps mine would have been even worse without the dates 🙂

    • Curious if this was back labor or baby was “sunny-side up”, as I know that often lengthens labor?

  86. Great article as usual! How do you figure about the blood sugar comment though? Dates have the highest GI of any fruit and even natural forms of sugar spike your blood sugar. I’m just wondering if you have anything to cite for this information as I would love to know for sure.

    • Natural sugars do raise your blood sugar but they don’t spike it like refined sugar does (causing a crash afterwards).

    • Islamic tradition is to break your Ramadan fast with an odd number of dates (usually 3) because that raises the blood sugar to the optimum level without a spike.

  87. I ate 4-6 dates/day for at least the last month of my second pregnancy. I was 3 cm and 80% effaced at a check at 40 weeks. Didn’t deliver until 41 weeks, but my 9.2 lb baby was born in 3 hours, 20 minutes or less of pushing!

  88. Can I start eating dates at 16weeks?

  89. Just hit my 20wk mark and wondering if it would be beneficial to start eating them now! Or better to wait so I don’t get sick of them until the last 5wks? Any advice, suggestions, or thoughts on this? Thanks in advance for any feedback 🙂

  90. I ate 4-5 dates a day last month of my pregnancy,and definitely was an easy labor. I was in labor for few hours at home and didn’t even notice it. I though I was having some mild contractions,I was expecting much worse pain,but it didn’t happen thankfullly! Arrived to a hospital at 1 pm already 6cm dilated. He was born at 5:17 pm. He would be born even faster if he wasn’t turned sunny side up. I’m pregnant again and definitely going to eat them again!

  91. I drank red raspberry leaf tea every day and than when you go into labor you can drink two boxes steeped in a pint of water as much as you can and it helped me.
    Also for my other baby I got my feet zoned and I went into labor within an hour.

  92. Interesting. In chapter 19 of the Qur’an, it says that a miraculous voice spoke out to Mary (mother of Jesus) when she was approaching childbirth and told her to eat dates! (this detail of Mary’s life is specific to the Qur’an)

    • SubhannahAllah (All praise for God!) I was going to say the same thing, alhamdullah (Thank God!). I ate probably too many dates during my first pregnancy and was only in labor for 5 hrs. This time (2nd baby inshallah) I am eating dates everyday with milk, and drinking red raspberry tea…..I fear when I’m finally due this baby is going to slip out next time I pee. Haha.

      • I hope you see this, but how did your 2nd pregnancy go? I wanted to drink the tea and eat dates too my last month in Sha Allah

      • Lmao I love ur comment

      • dates can be eaten at 9 th week?
        N how many? In a day

  93. I ate dates the last 4 weeks and had about a 4 hour labor from first contraction to birth. I gave birth to my daughter 1 hour and 35 min after arriving at the hospital and went from 4cm to 9 cm in less than 40 min. In the last hour tge contractions were intense and painful but were very mild for the first couple hours (I wasn’t even sure if I was in labor at the begining). Also, this was my first child and she was born naturally 4 days before my due date.

  94. I’m 28 weeks and had preterm labor start at 26+4 weeks. I’m already dilated to 2 and my cervix is short. Should I avoid dates? I absolutely love them! I don’t eat that many each day but my boys and I definitely snack on them regularly.

  95. Dried or fresh dates?

    • Hi medlyn” in our holy book was written Maria mother of Jesus was told only to eat dates didn’t specify dry or fresh, & I believe it. so I ate all dry sometimes fresh & they really help me!

  96. Hi,

    I m in my 5th month of pregnancy .
    Is it fine if I eat dates now?

      • Hi,

        I m in my 7th month of pregnancy .I m eating dates from long time.But I hv no idea how much to eat dates 7,8,9 months pregnancy for normal painless with healthy baby birth. Pls advice

        • Try 4-6 a day.

  97. I’m curious if there is a difference between fresh and dried dates. The study doesn’t specify what kind they were at all, and you would think fresh dates might make a bigger impact? Would be nice to know.

    • Yes u can eat from day one but you start with less like 3 then add as months goes but avoid eating too much more than 7 dates per day to avoid sugar diabetes sometimes it’s a risky to eat too much sugar per day for pregnancy women

  98. This is a timely post for me – it encourages me to get through that last box of dates in my fridge. I’m 39 weeks and 3 days and I’ve been eating dates like crazy since about 35 weeks. I am SO sick of them to be honest – almost can’t even stand to look at them, but here’s to hoping:)

  99. I ate dates all through out my 1st pregnancy, I had a slight obsession. I pushed for less then a half hour, my labor went so smoothly. Next morning I woke up showered, did my makeup, straightened my hair, I felt great! When my dr came in for my checkup she did not believe I just had a baby less than 24 hours ago. I was out of the hospital as soon as my daughter hit her 24 hour mark. My 2nd pregnancy, I hated dates, couldn’t stomach to look at them. I ended up getting induced, in labor for 15 hours, pushed for 2 hours, she ended up getting stuck and I had to get an episiotomy, and my poor babies shoulder was dislocated. Very traumatizing experience… Currently pregnant with my 3rd and I have been eating dates left and right, hoping for the same outcome as my 1st labor

    • HI, how did your labour go in the end?

  100. I ate 6 dates a day the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy. When I arrived to birth center after labor started, I was already 7 cm! The midwife was surprised.

    • I had the same experience – 6 dates a day the last 5 weeks or so and I was 7 cm and 100% effaced when I got to the Hospital. Unfortunately it didn’t shorten my almost 3 hours of pushing but I definitely think it helped with going into labor on my own and a short labor overall, I will definitely be eating them again next time!

  101. I have not tried this with my first two and I had a 31 hr labor and then a 15 hr labor. With the 3rd, I’ll try dates 🙂

  102. I did this during my pregnancy, and indeed it was easy and short labor.

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