Fasting While Pregnant: Useful Tips To Stay Safe & Healthy!

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Pregnancy is a transformative period marked by significant changes in a woman’s body and lifestyle. While fasting is practiced on normal days as it offers several health benefits, your gynecologist/ obstetrician may suggest you stop if you are bearing a child in your womb.

This is because a woman’s body goes through various changes during those 9 months, and she needs all the nutrients for herself and the fetus to grow.

Here are some reasons why women with a child in the womb are not allowed to fast during the stages of pregnancy.

What Are The 3 Quick Reasons Why Pregnant Women Should Not Fast?

1. Women Require More Nutrients Than Normal Days

During pregnancy, a woman not only needs nutrition for herself but also for the fetus that grows inside her for 9 months.

So, while you are pregnant, your need for nutrients increases, and your body demands foods rich in folic acid, iron, calcium, and protein. If you fast in the condition when you need nutrition the most, then there is a high chance that your overall health may be affected.

So, you must not compromise with the intake of your daily essential nutrients for a healthy baby.

Pregnant Women Should Not Fast

2. There Are Significant Changes In The Hormones During Pregnancy

Hormonal changes are a common phenomenon that goes on and on for a lifetime, but during pregnancy, what a woman goes through can not be compared with those at all.

When you are going through the phases of pregnancy, you will experience hormonal fluctuations as they are necessary to support the life inside you.

These hormones are responsible for the development of the fetus, and you may either experience high or low production of hormones.

Hence, to maintain the balance and levels of your hormones, you must take all the meals of the day and not even think of fasting during those days.

3. You Need To Store Energy As You May Get Tired Soon

Pregnant ladies tend to get tired very often, and as soon as they have another life inside them, some energy is consumed there, too.

So, if you are pregnant, then you must make sure that you have enough energy stored in your body so that you won’t get weak. When you consume energy-giving foods, they are stored in the form of glycogen and fat in your body and provide you with energy when needed.

But when you fast for a long time, then this energy may get depleted sooner, which can affect both you and the baby.

Are There Any Ways To Fast During Pregnancy Without Affecting The Baby?

Fasting is not recommended during pregnancy, but it is also associated with some religious beliefs, such as Ramadan. In Islam, during the month of blessings and worship, pregnant women are given the liberty to skip fasting; however, some of them still practice this.

Lack of nutrition in the mother’s body can affect both baby and mother, but if you are careful enough with your fasting, then you can fast without any negative effects.

So, here are some effective tips that you can implement if you want to fast during your pregnancy days.

Maintain The Level Of Hydration In Your Body

When you are pregnant, your baby needs more fluids to keep up with its growth rate, and hence, you need to keep yourself hydrated all the time.

The volume of your amniotic fluid may decrease if you do not drink enough water, thus affecting the baby. So what to do if you are fasting and can’t drink water during that time?

You can drink lots of water during your non-fasting period, eat fruits that have high water content and do not consume too much salt in your diet.

Never Miss Your Pre-Fast Meal

You must never skip the first meal of the day. Whether it is religious fasting or other, it always starts with a pre-fast meal, so make sure that you do not skip it and eat a lot during this moment so that you can store enough energy in the body for the day.

You must have a meal so that you do not feel exhausted by the end of the day and also to make sure that you do not experience weakness during delivery or any kinds of pregnancy troubles.

Always Have Foods That Provide Energy For The Whole Day

Just having a pre-fast meal is not enough; what you consume during that time is also very important. Make sure that your plate consists of healthy and nutrient-rich food items.

Your food choices must consist of carb-rich, raw fruits and vegetables, lean meat and pulses, and healthy fats. Along with this, you must also avoid the intake of sugary and oily drinks and foods. Hence, this is the way you can have mindful fasting.

Keep A Track Of Your Activities

Since you are on fast, you must not get involved in too many activities as they may drain your energy faster and make you exhausted by the end of the day.

So, you must plan your day effectively, like getting help from family members for household work and taking breaks between your work. Also, you must minimize stepping out of the house while you are on fast because you need to conserve your energy for the day.

Don’t Ignore Any Warning Signs From Your Body

Cramping, fatigue, weakness, abnormal bleeding, and unintended weight loss are some signs that you must not ignore if you are going for fasting.

These are warning signs from your body that you are not fit for fasting; hence must not consider it. If you do not address these issues properly then you may face serious consequences with pregnancy in the future.

Also Read: Pregnancy Joint Pain: Causes And Exercise Tips To Help Prevent Your Pain During Pregnancy

Conclusion

You are the one to decide whether you will fast while pregnant or not, but you must consult your doctor first before making a conclusive decision.

Your current pregnancy stage, physical health, fasting duration, and weather conditions are crucial factors that you must pay attention to while going fast during pregnancy.

The development of your baby and its well-being must always be your top priority, so make your decisions wisely, whether it is for religious reasons, weight loss, or other reasons.

References:

  • Baynouna Al Ketbi LM, Niglekerke NJ, Zein Al Deen SM, Mirghani H. Diet restriction in Ramadan and the effect of fasting on glucose levels in pregnancy. BMC Res Notes. 2014;7: 392. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-392
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4088297/
  • Gaccioli F, Lager S, Powell TL, Jansson T. Placental transport in response to altered maternal nutrition. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2013;4: 101–115. doi: 10.1017/S2040174412000529 
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25054676/

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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