Eating for an easier labour?
“Eat something spicy. Then wash your floors in a counter-clockwise direction. While wearing the colour of the sky the night you were born.” Sound familiar?
If you’ve ever been in the desperate I’ll- do –anything- to- get- things- going stage of pregnancy, you know a thing or two about old wives tales about labour. It seems like everyone from your grandmother to the nice lady in line at the grocery store has a tip to pass on. For the most part, these old wives tales are based on experience, superstition, rumour, and tradition. Basically everything except scientific fact.
That’s why I was so excited when I read a recently published study that scientifically proves that eating dates positively affects labour and delivery.
In this randomized control trial the pregnant women who were randomized into the date eating group were significantly less likely to need labour intervention. That’s a win, right? For some reason, women in the date eating group were more efficient in progressing their labours and were less likely to need oxytocin or Pitocin.
Earlier studies concluded that dates can also speed up and shorten labour, but these benefits were not replicated by this trial. Either way, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try to incorporate dates into your diet during the last month of pregnancy to increase your odds of an easier labour and delivery.
Why a Labour Prep Smoothie?
Personally, I don’t love snacking on dates all day. I do however love a daily smoothie and dates are the perfect natural sweetener.
In this Labour Prep smoothie dates are paired with cooled red raspberry leaf tea, another natural labour superfood. For centuries women have believed that drinking red raspberry lead tea makes labour easier and faster by working to strengthen your uterus. Best brewed, cooled, and served on ice in the summer, it’s the perfect substitute for water in this delicious smoothie.
I added frozen raspberries and fresh peaches as red raspberry leaf tea doesn’t actually taste like raspberries and is a bit bitter. This makes it cold, sweet, and full of key vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate, fibre, and vitamin C.
And finally, I threw in a big spoonful of hemp hearts because I believe you should add protein to every meal you eat during pregnancy. The seeds add protein plus omega fats, iron, and zinc.
When to drink it
Many moms start drinking red raspberry leaf tea in the second trimester. It’s probably best to avoid it in the first trimester because it may cause uterine contractions. Always talk to your midwife or doctor if you’re unsure about when to start.
To maximize the benefits for labour and delivery, try to drink this Labour Prep smoothie every day for the last four weeks of your pregnancy.
Don’t forget about this smoothie after baby is born, either. It makes a fantastic postnatal drink as your uterus works to get back to its normal size. Many moms also believe that red raspberry leaf tea is helpful for increasing milk supply, too, which is great if you’re going to be breastfeeding.
Not pregnant? No problem. This is still a delicious and healthy smoothie to work in to your rotation, especially if you’re trying to conceive, have menstrual discomfort, or have some left over tea from your pregnant days you want to get rid of (like me).
Have you tried dates or red raspberry leaf tea to help improve your labour?