Labour induction and augmentation with Prostaglandin and Oxytocin are well established as standard practice worldwide. They are safe when used judiciously, but may be associated with maternal and neonatal morbidities. Other safer alternatives have been studied including dates consumption during late pregnancy with various outcomes. The aim of this randomised controlled trial was to investigate the effect of date fruit consumption during late pregnancy on the onset of labour and need for induction or augmentation of labour. A total of 154 nulliparous women with an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy were randomly allocated to either dates-consumer (77) or control group (77). The women in the dates-consumer group had significantly less need for augmentation of labour and longer intervention to delivery interval. There was no significant difference in the onset of spontaneous labour. Dates consumption reduces the need for labour augmentation but does not expedite the onset of labour. Impact statement • Dates fruit consumption during late pregnancy has been shown to positively affect the outcome of labour and delivery. In this study, date consumption reduced the need for labour augmentation with oxytocin but did not expedite the onset of labour. Therefore, dates consumption in late pregnancy is a safe supplement to be considered as it reduced the need for labour intervention without any adverse effect on the mother and child. This further supports the finding of earlier studies.
Keywords: Randomised trial; dates fruit; induction or augmentation of labour; pregnancy.