Some religions require their followers to fast at certain times throughout the year. The fasting period for Christians is called Great Lent, for Islam its Ramadan, and for Hinduism, it’s Navaratri.
Many questions have been asked over the years regarding the safety of pregnant women during fasting periods. We would like to address some of them.
Check with your doctor
Before deciding to fast, consult your doctor. He or she will know your history of medical problems and your present condition. If you get clearance from your doctor to fast, you should be able to do it safely. Short term fasting is sometimes permitted, although long term fasting is usually not recommended.
If pregnant women do decide to fast, they could increase their risk of having a premature delivery. If women experience a great deal of nausea during their 1st trimesters, they should abandon the idea of fasting.
Babies may suffer dehydration if the mother observes waterless fasting. Many important vitamins and nutrients are needed by pregnant and nursing women. Because of this, adverse effects could occur if they decide to fast. Risks such as respiratory problems or low birth weight could occur.
If a pregnant woman starves herself, then her fetus will starve, as well. On the other hand, if a pregnant woman practices good, sound nutrition, her fetus will be healthy.
What to do if you decide to fast
If you do decide to fast, then drink lots of water before and after your fast (especially in the case of water fasts), break the fast occasionally by eating a healthy, well-balanced meal, eat whatever food is permissible by your religion (such as fruit, nuts, or milk), eat if you start feeling dizzy or weak, eat nutritious foods prior to the fast, and avoid strenuous physical activity during the fast.
Never forget that you are responsible for the health of your unborn baby. There are times when you need to follow your doctor’s advice no matter what anyone else may think.