Ramadan and Pregnancy

By Medically reviewed by Duyen Le, MD.

Ramadan and pregnant women

Studies reveal that about 75% of Muslim women in the world who are pregnant decide to fast for Ramadan. However, the way of fasting or observing Ramadan may vary from people to people.

Islamic leaders share that pregnant women have a special permission to skip fasting if they do not feel well enough. They say pregnant women should not fast if it will do harm to the babies. Your family, midwife, doctor or an Islamic sheikh can help you have the proper choice.

Can I fast during pregnancy?

Whether fasting is safe for pregnant women or not is not clear.

According to Islamic law, expectant mothers don’t have to fast. Alternatively, they can fast in other times to make up for what they’ve missed. Or, they can do fidyah to compensate. Food donation is an example of fidyah. Nevertheless, if pregnant women still want to fast, they have to make sure that they themselves and their babies are in an excellent health state. To be sure about it, discussion with a GP or midwife is highly recommended.

Many factors can affect the fast. One of them is the time when it takes place. If Ramadan is in the summer, the risk is higher since hot weather and long daytime can really make one exhausted and dehydrated.

Studies about fasting in relation with pregnancy

There are many ideas suggested by studies on fasting and pregnancy. Some of them state that babies get little or no negative effect even if their mothers fast in pregnancy. Meanwhile, according to some other studies, those newborns would show a decrease in their intelligence or academic ability. Also, they may have to face with many health risks later in life.

Here’s what researchers have come up with so far:

There are no differences between the Apgar score of babies whose mothers fast in pregnancy and those whose mothers did not fast. (Apgar is a quick test performed after the baby is born to evaluate his overall health at birth.)

Lower birth weight happens when pregnant women fast during her pregnancy, especially in her first trimester. However, the difference is insignificant. Similarly, babies of mothers who fasted at conception time or in pregnancy appear to be shorter and thinner when they grow up.

For pregnant women, fasting causes changes to their chemical balance. Fortunately, these changes are not significant enough to harm the unborn babies.

Other concerns about potential health risks of fasting and pregnancy include slower fetal growth and premature labor.

How should I cope with fasting?

You may cope with fasting well if your physical status and your lifestyle are healthy. The unborn babies take nutrients from their mothers. Thus, if the mothers have stored a sufficient amount of energy, they can go fasting with fewer impacts.

Factors deciding how your body copes with fasting include:

  • Your general health before the pregnancy
  • Your pregnancy’s stage
  • How long you will fast

Winter fasting may be less tricky than summer fasting since it has a lower temperature and shorter daytime.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

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