Fasting during pregnancy: your complete guide

Ramadan the month of fasting for Muslims is coming up soon, and every year pregnant women have many questions about it. Is fasting during pregnancy possible? How does fasting affect the mother’s and the baby’s health? When is it not possible for a pregnant woman to fast? What are the best tips to make fasting during pregnancy easier? Read on to know the answers.

Fasting during pregnancy

Can a pregnant woman fast during Ramadan?

It is very important to emphasize that in Islam a pregnant woman is not required to fast during Ramadan, especially if fasting might in any way harm her health or the health of the unborn fetus. Therefore, it is crucial that a pregnant woman who wants to fast, consult her physician to make sure her fasting will not harm her or her baby before deciding to fast during Ramadan.

A doctor’s decision to clear a woman for fasting will differ from one case to another. It all depends on the overall health of the pregnant woman and that of her baby, it also differs from one trimester to another. In the first trimester the uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms of nausea and vomiting, and exhaustion play a big role in deciding whether it is safe to fast or not. Fetal development is another key element that doctors take into consideration when the fasting during pregnancy question comes up.

A study published in 2019 in The Journal of Nutrition showed that after surveying several pregnant women who fasted during their second trimester, many of them had preterm labor. This might have happened because of the decreased nutrients and fluids passed to the fetus because of the mother’s fasting. So, it is paramount to check with the doctor and have all the necessary tests done to confirm that fasting won’t affect the pregnancy negatively before deciding to fast.


Learn more about pregnancy in this amazing bundle of courses


How does fasting affect pregnancy?

  • A fasting pregnant woman might get dehydrated especially if the fasting period is long, or if she is spending a lot of time in the heat or doing excessive physical activities.
  • During the first trimester, fasting can worsen nausea and vomiting as fasting has a direct and major impact on the digestive system.
  • Fatigue is one of the main and most common pregnancy symptoms, this can become more intense with fasting due to the lack of nutrients and hydration.
  • Some studies suggest that fasting might affect fetal weight, as it was found that some babies whose mothers fasted while pregnant, were born underweight.
  • Other studies found that there is a chance of a decrease in the size of the placenta due to fasting. This makes doctor’s visits very important if a pregnant woman wants to fast, to make sure fasting won’t harm the pregnancy in any way.

What makes fasting during pregnancy impossible?

  • Severe nausea and excessive vomiting
  • Gestational Hypertension
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Iron deficiency
  • Decrease in fetal weight or movement

Tips to make fasting during pregnancy easier

If after your doctor did all the necessary tests and assessments of your health and the health of the baby, he clears you to fast in Ramadan here are some tips to make this experience easier:

– Hydration

Drink plenty of water when you break your fast, during iftar and suhoor meals. Avoid sugary drinks that will only fill you up without giving you the needed hydration.

– Healthy eating

Make sure you are getting all the necessary nutrients during your meals. Avoid processed foods, and foods rich in sugar and unhealthy fats as much as you can.

– Pregnancy supplements

It is paramount to keep taking your pregnancy supplements prescribed by your doctor. So make sure you take them either with Iftar or Suhoor.

– Rest

Preserve your energy, don’t go outdoors in the heat, and avoid any excessive physical activity to avoid dehydration.

– Doctor’s visits

At this point, you might have been used to visiting the doctor’s office every month for your prenatal checkups. Try to increase the frequency while fasting to make sure that it is not affecting you or the baby in a negative way.


Learn more about pregnancy in this amazing bundle of courses


Also Read: Calming the New Mom Fears