Fasting during pregnancy
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Fasting during Ramadan bothers many expectant mothers. Questions on whether or not it is safe to fast during pregnancy worries women often.
The responses to the frequently asked questions below will help provide you with the information you need.
– How will I cope with fasting during pregnancy?
If you’re a healthy weight and have a generally healthy lifestyle, you’re likely to cope better with fasting. Your baby needs nutrients that come from you, and if your body has enough energy stores, fasting is likely to have less of an impact.
How your body deals with fasting will also depend on:
your general health before you became pregnant, what stage of pregnancy you’re at and how long you fast during the day.
– Is fasting during pregnancy safe?
Research is still ongoing in this area and although the evidence is not clear cut, many experts believe it is not a good idea to fast during pregnancy. Some studies have shown that pregnant women who fast during Ramadan may have smaller placentas and/or babies with slightly lower birth weights, compared to women who do not fast. Fasting may also increase the risk of becoming dehydrated, especially if Ramadan falls during the summer, and this may affect the way your kidneys function and the amount of fluid surrounding your baby.
However, other studies have not found any differences between babies who are born to mothers who have fasted and those who have not fasted during Ramadan. The impact of fasting during pregnancy may depend on the overall health of the mother, the stage of pregnancy, and the time of year Ramadan occurs.
– What if You Decide to Fast?
Make sure you consult your doctor before taking a final decision. If you are given the go-ahead, there are certain steps you can take to make fasting during pregnancy more manageable.
Rather than fasting on all days of the month, take small breaks. You could fast every alternate day or on weekends, so your body has some time to recuperate and fill up on nutrition on other days. Drink plenty of fluids in the form of water, soups, cool drinks, and more during ‘suhoor’ and ‘iftar’ meals. Also, ensure you take all your supplements and eat a balanced diet that will provide you and your baby with nutrition and energy.
-What warning signs should I look out for during fasting?
• You’re not putting on enough weight, or you’re losing weight, which could be harmful to your baby.
• You become very thirsty, are weeing less frequently, or if your wee becomes dark-colored. This is a sign of dehydration, and it can make you more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) or other complications.
•You feel dizzy, faint, weak, confused, or tired, even after you’ve had a good rest. Break your fast immediately with a sugary drink and a salty snack or an oral rehydration solution such as Dioralyte, and contact your doctor.
What’s the best way to break my fast?
You need to eat healthy so that your body gets all the required nutrients to help your baby grow. Not eating enough can affect your baby’s growth.
•Try to eat slowly at Iftar. Start with light meals such as soups. Foods that contain natural sugars such as fruit and milky drinks are a good choice too, as they’ll give you some much-needed energy.
• After you’ve broken your fast, opt for meals that give you a healthy balance of starchy foods, fruit, and vegetables, dairy, and protein such as well-cooked meat, fish, eggs, or beans. This will help your baby to grow well.
• Opt for complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and seeds, and high-fiber foods, such as pulses and dried fruits. These will help to keep you going as they release energy slowly. Rather than high-fat, refined foods, choose healthier options such as potatoes or chickpeas.
• Eat little and often if you can and make sure you drink plenty of fluids such as water, low sugar, and caffeine-free drinks to help you stay well hydrated.
• Try not to have lots of sugary foods that will raise your blood sugar levels quickly. Your blood sugar may then drop quickly, which may make you feel faint and dizzy.