It's a Date
"I want a long, hard, complicated labour and delivery,"
said no pregnant woman ever!
So what can you do to help increase your chances of a short, "easy", and healthy childbirth?
~ Get the facts- take a positive and informative childbirth education class.
~ Get a doula- studies show that having a birth doula helps reduce your chances of medical interventions and helps keep you (and your partner) comfortable physically and emotionally no matter where you choose to give birth.
~ Get some exercise- exercise is beneficial for you and your baby. Certain kinds of exercise are also useful for getting baby into an optimal position for labour and birth.
~ Get some nutrition- what you eat and drink while pregnant is key for the development of your baby and for keeping you healthy and energetic during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
~ Get some dates
Wait..., dates? Yep. That's right. And I'm not talking about due dates or birth dates.
go into labour spontaneously
have a shorter latent phase of the first stage of labour
show up at the hospital or birthing center with a greater measurement of dilation
have intact membranes upon arrival at the hospital or birthing center
avoid induction or augmentation of labour with pitocin
How do dates help?
Dates are an amazing fruit. They are high in:
Fiber- what your body needs to help you stay full and keep your digestive system moving. This is ideal in pregnancy since constipation is something that many woman suffer from.
Natural sugars- unlike refined sugars, natural sugars are broken down slowly by the body. This means that dates don't cause the same spike in blood sugar levels refined sugars do, making them an ideal snack.
Potassium- an electrolyte that helps the body balance salt and water. Balance means regulated blood pressure.
Magnesium- helps support muscular health. Having enough magnesium in your diet can help pregnant women avoid nasty muscle spasms and cramps.
Vitamin K- is necessary for blood clotting and bone health.
Folate- important in pregnancy for the development of baby's spinal cord. Sufficient levels of folate have been shown to reduce instances of neural tube defects.
Quite the impressive list!
A study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Reproductive Health mentions that "date fruit can be helpful in saving energy and strengthening uterus muscles. It also contains hormones which help the uterus stretch and be prepared for child delivery." This is due to its "oxytocin-like effects and its nutritional and therapeutic characteristics".
It also doesn't hurt that dates taste great. They're versatile too, so even if you don't like them on their own, they can be eaten in a variety of ways- added to smoothies, made into energy balls, added to baked goods, etc.
So if you're pregnant, grab some dates next time you're out. In Montreal and surrounding areas, dates can be found in a variety of grocery and health food stores.
*Please note that if you have blood sugar issues or other health concerns speak with your health care provider first to make sure adding 6 dates a day to your diet from 36 weeks of pregnancy onward is right for you.
Stefanie is a birth and postpartum doula and the founder of Karis Doula. She loves dates. To learn more about how Stefanie can guide you during your birth or postpartum journey click here.