During pregnancy there is usually some point at which a woman begins to wonder about her labor and delivery. Questions such as “When will it happen?” “How will I know when it starts?” and “Will I need to be induced?” are common.  Most of the factors surrounding these questions are completely out of a woman’s control. However, researchers from Jordan University of Science and Technology have found that consuming dates during pregnancy may influence the need for induction and medical intervention during labor.

In a study of 114 women, published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 69 ate at least six pieces of dates a day during the last four weeks of pregnancy. When compared with the control group (no dates), women who ate the dates experienced significantly greater cervical dilation when they were admitted to the hospital. A mere 4% of these women required medical assistance to start their labor, compared to 21% in the control group. And only 28% of those who ate date fruit required the use of prostin/oxytocin throughout their labor, as compared to 47% in the control group.

If that’s not enough to get you to put dates on the shopping list, note this: The first stage of labor in women who ate date fruit was 38% shorter than for the control group and fewer of them required a C-section.

Al-Kuran, O. O., Al-Mehaisen, L. L., Bawadi, H. H., Beitawi, S. S., & Amarin, Z. Z. (2011). The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 31(1), 29-31.