Effects of date fruit (Phoenix dactylifera L.) on labor and delivery outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2020 Apr 14;20(1):210. doi: 10.1186/s12884-020-02915-x.


Background: The rate of cesarean section is increasing in all over the world with different drafts in various countries. This growth increases unpleasant outcomes of delivery. Recent studies explained the benefits of date palm fruit on labor process improvement. Date fruit can be considered as a factor for increasing vaginal delivery and also reducing the frequency of caesarean section in order to prevent its great complications. This systematic review has been designed to review clinical studies that investigate the effects of date palm fruit on labor outcomes (duration of labor stages, bishop score, and frequency of cesarean section) compared with routine cares.

Methods: This study was performed in 2019. Required data has been collected from electronic databases and manual searches. All randomized clinical trials evaluating the effects of date palm fruit on labor and delivery that were published from January 2000 to August 2019 in English and Persian languages, were incorporated in this systematic review. The methodological quality of the included studies was evaluated according to the risk of bias assessment of Cochrane handbook of systematic reviews, and were then reported using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement.

Results: Eight studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative synthesis. Meta-Analysis showed that date fruit consumption can significantly reduce active phase of labor (three trials with 380 participants; (MD = - 109.3, 95%CI (- 196.32, - 22.29; I2 = 89%), P = 0.01), and also it can significantly improve the bishop score (two trials with 320 participants; MD = 2.45, 95%CI (1.87, 3.04; I2 = 0%), P < 0.00001). Date fruit consumption had no effects on the duration of first, second, and third stages of labor, and the frequency of cesarean section.

Conclusion: Date can reduce the duration of active phase and improve the bishop score; however, due to from the low to mediate quality of the studies; it seems that the other studies are needed to prove these results better than this.

Keywords: Date fruit; Date palm; Delivery; Labor; Meta-analysis; Phoenix dactiylifera; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric / drug effects*
  • Phoeniceae*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome