Is it safe to fast during pregnancy?

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Fasting during pregnancy in Ramadan is a personal decision. Make sure you consult an expert medical professional before fasting in the early stages of pregnancy.
Pregnancy involves a lot of changes to the body, weight gain, and the fact that there is a baby which needs constant nutrition means that there are several effects of fasting during pregnancy. Some of them are short-term effects and would subside with time whereas others may have implications for the long term.
Fasting during pregnancy can affect the mother’s and child’s health, especially if there are pre-existing health conditions or complications determined.

Here are some of the possible effects of fasting:

– Increases the possibility of dehydration if there is no consumption of water or liquids.
– Fasting could result in low birth weight.
– Increased likelihood of premature birth.
– Baby and mom could be deprived of essential nutrition.
– May result in severe acidity.
– Increased likelihood of fatigue, dizzy spells, and fainting.

If you decide to fast, there are warning signs to look out for:

– If you are not putting on weight or are losing weight, there may be cause for concern
– Reduced frequency of urination accompanied by getting thirsty often, in which case you may need to break your fast.
– If you experience nausea and vomiting you may need to see a doctor.
– Headaches, pain in other parts of the body, and fever are warning signs which must not be ignored.
– Dark-colored, strong-smelling urine could be a sign of dehydration and may cause UTI (urinary tract infection).
– Extreme weakness and fatigue should be addressed immediately.
And 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.
– If you feel confused, weak, or tired during the day, immediately break your fast with a sweet drink and a salty snack which will give you energy and also stabilize blood pressure levels.
– Keep an oral rehydration solution (ORS) on standby as well. Drink plenty of fluids in the form of water, soups, cool drinks, and more during ‘suhoor’ and ‘iftar’ meals.
– Ensure you take all your supplements and eat a balanced diet that will provide you and your baby with nutrition and energy.

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