The holy month of Ramadan is finally here, and as with every year, it is time for Muslims worldwide to start their obligatory fasting. However, for pregnant women, this presents a dilemma.
Should they be fasting during this time or not? And if they do decide to fast, how do they ensure that they do in a way to avoid putting them or their baby’s health at risk?
Below we will analyze the matter in detail and provide you with some helpful tips to fast safely during pregnancy.
Should Pregnant Women Fast During Ramadan?
Generally, fasting during pregnancy is not recommended. This holds true, particularly during the third trimester or if the mother is sick. Even if the mother is healthy but is concerned about her health and that of her baby it is okay for her to avoid fasting.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women can therefore abstain from fasting during Ramadan. Afterward, when the pregnancy is over and done with and if the mother is not nursing her baby, she can make up for her missed fasts.
It is also a question of personal preference. Many pregnant women who feel healthy and well opt to fast during Ramadan. However, you should only do this after consulting an experienced gynecologist.
Pregnancy is a period that is often tough on mothers and is associated with several health issues. Pregnancy complications can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
In case a woman suffers from any of these complications, she should avoid fasting at all costs as that may aggravate her condition. In addition, during the third trimester, a mother needs to take extra care regarding her diet and nutrition.
This is the time when the baby is gaining weight so it is pertinent for the mother to take in sufficient calories and stay hydrated.
Fasting in Pregnancy – What Does Islam Say?
Islam also gives Muslims the freedom to avoid fasting if they are ill. As Allah does not want to burden someone beyond which he/she can bear. These people can make up for their missed fasts later when their health allows them or pay fidya which is a compulsory charitable donation.
“And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day)” —– [Surah al-Baqarah 2:184]
Regarding the subject, the Holy Prophet Hazart Muhammad (PBUH) also said, as narrated by Anas:
“Allah has waived meaning half of the prayer and fasting for the traveler, and from pregnant women and the sick. ” —– [Sunan an-Nasa’i 2274 Book 22, Hadith 185]
Tips For Fasting During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant but do not want to miss out on fasting and your gynecologist gives you the go-ahead, some tips can help you healthily perform your religious obligations.
1. Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is a must for any woman fasting during pregnancy. Your diet should include important nutrients and minerals like protein, fiber, calcium, iron, etc.
Protein-rich foods like milk, chicken, meat, and eggs are recommended in this regard. Slow-release energy foods should also be consumed. These can include bread, pulses, and nuts. Try to eat lots of healthy fruits and vegetables as well as dates when you break your fast at iftar.
Moreover deep-fried, and excessively oily foods like samosas and pakoras should be avoided.
2. Keep Up Your Fluid Intake
Pregnant women need to stay hydrated. If you are fasting, remember to drink plenty of fluids in the form of water or fresh juices, and milkshakes at sehri and iftar to prevent dehydration.
Caffeine should be avoided as it is considered harmful for pregnant women. You should also limit the consumption of sugar drinks. Hence it is recommended to cut out caffeinated beverages from your diet like coffee, energy drinks, and carbonated soft drinks.
3. Get Plenty Of Rest
As your body isn’t getting any intake of food or drink during your fast, it is extremely important to get rest. Getting sufficient rest can help your body relax and conserve energy so you don’t feel weak or dehydrated.
4. Take Occasional Breaks From Fasting
If indeed you must fast, you can always decide to take a break from it every couple of days.
Rather than fasting continuously for the entirety of the month of Ramadan, you can fast 2 or 3 times a week with regular breaks in between. Remember that you can always make up for your missed fasts later, and this is permissible in Islam.
5. Stay Alert Regarding Any Health Issues
It is imperative to observe caution when you are fasting during pregnancy. If it seems as though fasting is taking a toll on your health, or you are developing any health complications, you should stop fasting and consult a gynecologist immediately to get the necessary treatment.
It is okay to abstain from fasting if you are pregnant and feel like fasting would be detrimental for you and your baby.
However, you may fast if you feel healthy and your gynecologist approves of it. While fasting, you should maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and take plenty of rest.
If your health starts deteriorating amid fasting, you should consult a healthcare professional at once.
oladocx can help book online and in-person appointments with the Best Gynecologist in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and other cities in Pakistan. Use the oladocx.com website, mobile app, to book your appointments.