There is evidence that dates can help ripen the cervix to help labour begin, gently increase dilation during labour, decrease the need for pitocin (medical induction or augmentation of labour), increase chances of a vaginal birth, and reduce the chances of heavy bleeding after the placenta is born! Not only all that, they are also nutritious!
"The date fruit contains a high percentage of carbohydrates and fats and also includes 15 different types of salts and minerals, proteins and vitamins, such as riboflavin, thiamine, biotin, folic acid, and ascorbic acid." ~ Evidence Based Birth
Along with other natural induction tricks in a full-term pregnancy, I also recommend that my clients begin eating dates in late pregnancy at about 36 weeks if their care provider agrees that it is safe to do so.
Eating dates on their own is delicious, but if you want to mix things up a little bit, here's a great sugar-free muffin recipe! You can double the recipe, make them ahead of time, throw them in your freezer and add them to your birth bag if you are having a hospital birth! I can't take credit for these muffins. I found the recipe on-line years ago and wrote it down. Its a great recipe that would be flexible for substitutions if you need to do so.
1 C Dates
1 C Water
Rinse the dates and place in a pot with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool.
1/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/3 C Sunflower Seeds
Handful of Raisins
Beat the oil and the egg with a fork and then incorporate the date mixture, stirring.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 25 to 30 min.
Makes 9 muffins.
Happy snacking and birth blessings!