Updated: Nov 1, 2020
I never imagined the first entry I would write in this journal would be about the humble date. No, not a romantic evening for two, but the delicious, sticky sweet fruit. When I was training to become a doula, I was surprised to learn that consuming 4-6 dates a day from week 36 of pregnancy may help the cervix to dilate, resulting in a shorter labour. There is also some evidence from a small study to suggest that eating dates in late pregnancy may lessen postpartum bleeding. [source]
I've always been a huge fruit bat, so I didn't need anymore encouragement to pick up two boxes of gorgeous medjool dates from my local market stall and start munching. One of my favourite treats is to stuff dates with nut butter - this isn't only delicious, but combining the protein of nut butter with the sugary carbohydrates in dates helps to prevent a spike in blood sugar. Dates are also rich in vitamins and fibre and can help aid digestion, which is also helpful in late pregnancy.
Another great way to eat dates is to make them into bliss balls. There are endless combinations of flavours and ingredients you could use, but this recipe I threw together became a firm favourite towards the end of my pregnancy. My husband loved them too and kept stealing them from the fridge! The combination of sweet dates and vanilla, crunchy peanut butter and cashews, fibrous oats and a boost of omega 3 from the chia seeds doesn't just taste divine, but is full of goodness too.
Who knows whether or not they will have an effect on labour, but it definitely can't hurt to try and your tastebuds will thank you for it.
If you try making them yourself, let me know what you think in the comments!
Nutty Bliss Balls
Makes 8 balls
6 medjool dates
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup cashew nuts
2 tablespoons oats (use gluten free oats if needed)
Place the dates into a food processor and blend until they form a smooth, caramel-like paste. add in the cashews and pulse to break them up, don't worry if there are any chunky bits, these will just add a delicious crunch to your bliss balls. Add the peanut butter, vanilla, oats and chia seeds and blend to combine.
Spoon out the mixture into roughly tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls in your hands. Place in the fridge to chill for an hour, and enjoy!