Stuffed Dates (and why you should eat them during pregnancy!)
Dates are a fabulous food for late pregnancy. Studies have found that women who consume approximately 6 dates per day during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy had a greater cervical dilation and ripening, a reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and had more favorable birth outcomes compared to those who didn’t consume dates. (1, 2) It’s important to note that these studies looked at consumption of 75grams of dates, which is equivalent to 6 deglet dates or 3 medjool (fancy) dates.
Dates are a quick source of energy, from their high carbohydrate content and they also contain beneficial B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, and saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The presence of these vitamins, minerals and fatty acids help with prostaglandin production (an important kick starter for labor) and also influence the production and response to oxytocin receptors in the uterus. (2)
But dates are an incredibly sweet treat! A medjool date has approximately 16g of sugar, equivalent to 4 tsps of table sugar (3) If you follow a lower carb diet or struggle with blood sugar regulation, this can feel like too much sweet. To mitigate the effects on blood sugar, I recommend pairing dates with a serving of healthy fats. This will slow the absorption of the date sugar, allow you to reap the many benefits of dates during pregnancy, and enjoy an extra tasty snack.
Here are my favorite ways to enjoy dates!
Stuffed with goat cheese, broiled for 3-4 minutes and topped with cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
Stuffed with almond butter
Wrapped with pastured bacon and baked at 400F for 15 minutes (or until bacon is cooked through).
Topped with melted coconut butter. I’m a big fan of the Cacao Infused Coconut Butter from Motha Butta!
Al-Kuran, O., Al-Mehaisen, L., Bawadi, H., Beitawi, S., & Amarin, Z. (n.d.). The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989
K., M., Meybodi, A., F., T., N., . . . M. (2014, July 01). The Effect of Late Pregnancy Consumption of Date Fruit on Cervical Ripening in Nulliparous Women. Retrieved from http://jmrh.mums.ac.ir/article_2772.html
(n.d.). Retrieved from https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=09421