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Fasting during pregnancy

Being healthy during pregnancy is very important so if you choose to fast during this period, be sure to follow these guidelines.

  • Sakib Khondoker
  • Sakib Khondoker
  • 26 May 2019

Fasting During Pregnancy 

Fasting is considered one of the five pillars of Islam and contains an unparalleled significance for any Muslim. The month of Ramadan is celebrated worldwide as Muslims from every sphere gather together to fast from dawn to sunset.

However, for pregnant women, fasting becomes difficult, especially in countries with a relatively higher temperature and humidity. There are multiple concerns which might arise for the mother and the baby if the pregnant woman fasts early on in her pregnancy or spends a large amount of time without having any food for a number of days.

Several studies were conducted around the world on pregnant women to understand if fasting has a long-term negative effect on either the mother or the baby.

Some of the key factors which came out from the studies are shown below:

Firstly, the Apgar Score of the babies were seen to remain the same for fasting pregnant women, as any other pregnant woman who did not fast.

Secondly, a concerning fact which arose from the study was the body weight of the new born infants. For the pregnant women who fasted in the earlier stages of their pregnancy or fasted for a large amount of time at a stretch, gave birth to babies who were smaller in size. This ultimately can pose a threat for the babies in the long run, affecting their physical and mental growth.

Lastly, there might be a concern regarding the growth of the baby in the womb (uterus) of the mothers who fast during Ramadan. Furthermore, studies revealed that there might also arise signs of premature labor.

Thus arises an important question: Is it safe for the pregnant women to fast during the Ramadan?

For a country like Bangladesh, there are certain factors which need to be kept in mind for women before fasting.

Bangladesh, although considered as a secular country, is composed of a majority of Muslim population. Thus, fasting in the month of Ramadan is considered as a fundamental responsibility for the Muslim men and women alike. Thus, in most cases, pregnant women consider fasting during the time of their pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, and is considering fasting during Ramadan, there are certain factors that you need to check out, to ensure safety for you and your baby.

Pregnancy itself is a demanding task for the body, and if you are fasting, then it’s a whole other ballgame.

While fasting during pregnancy, the body faces a huge deficit in terms of nutrients, and fluids. And for a humid country like Bangladesh, it takes a huge toll on the body for pregnant mothers. Thus, before considering pregnancy, you should sit down with a doctor, and seek advice regarding the do’s and don’ts of fasting during pregnancy.

On the other hand, research has shown that it unwise for pregnant women to fast for consecutive days at a stretch. If you want to fast during your pregnancy, it is better if you choose alternate days to fast in the month of Ramadan. This will allow your body to gather some rest after you fast on the previous day. Consecutive fasting might pose a negative effect on the placenta and might create problems for the baby in taking nutrition inside the womb.

Here are some fasting tips for women who want to fast during pregnancy:

Slow down your caffeine train: If you are pregnant, drinking huge amount of coffee, or any caffeine related products in a big no-no. On top of that caffeine consumption should be minimized as much as possible while fasting during pregnancy. To substitute your caffeine consumption, you can take a more of a green-tea approach. This helps grazing headaches, and nausea during fasting, and helps your body in staying hydrated.

Cool down as much as possible: If you are pregnant and fasting; cool down. If you are not a person who is fond of staying in air-conditioned spaces; become one. The trick is to drink, drink, drink, and drink a bit more water right after breaking your fast, so that you can recover the necessary fluids for your body, before you embark on another day of fasting. The ideal signs should be regular urinating right before the Fazr Azan, which signifies that your body is ideally hydrated.

Lower down your activities: Fasting automatically reduces your energy, and if you spend it even more running around fulfilling your daily chores, this might affect your baby in the long run.

Slow down: Anyone who fasts can relate to the fact that you feel like gulping down half of the Asian Continent, as soon as the fast ends. But for pregnant women who are fasting, this can potentially pressurize your stomach, ultimately affecting the baby. If you are fasting while being pregnant, remember to open your Iftar with a warm beverage. Milk is an ideal beverage to end your fast.

Danger Signs (Look Out!): Fasting while pregnancy is a sensitive matter on its own, and comes with a lot of potential risks for the mother and the baby.

Look out for the danger signs which signifies breaking the fast immediately:

Danger signs might include extreme fatigue, a significant decrease in Fetal Movement, abnormal amount of contractions, intense headache with blurred visions, Nausea and/or Dizziness.

If any of these symptoms pop up during fasting, it is heavily recommended that you break your fast immediately.

Fasting in the month of Ramadan comes with religious and cultural upholding, and satisfaction. But it is also imperative to understand the repercussions of fasting while being pregnant. If you consider fasting during pregnancy, take all the necessary precautionary steps to make sure it does not affect you or your baby’s health in any way.

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