Is it safe to fast while I'm pregnant?

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You can fast during Ramadan if you're pregnant, but it's not advised or mandatory.
You can fast during Ramadan if you're pregnant, but it's not advised or mandatory.

Once again the holy month of Ramadaan is here and Muslims all over the world are fasting from sunrise to sunset. A question that often crops up is: Can I fast if I’m pregnant?

Any woman who has been pregnant can tell you what a toll it takes on her body. You’re looking after two people now and your baby needs all the nutrients he can get to make him healthy and strong so you need to think of his health as well as your own. Pregnant women are often tired and nauseous and fasting can make it a little bit harder.

According to IslamQA, fasting should not be a hardship on anyone, so if a pregnant woman feels that it will be harmful to her or her baby, then she is not allowed to fast but she must pay those days back later in the year before the next Ramadaan.

Fasting is obligatory for all sane, healthy Muslims but there's an exception for those who are old, ill, travelling, at war, and for women who are menstruating, pregnant or breastfeeding. However if a pregnant woman feels healthy and that she is able to fast then she should do so. Most women take it day-by-day and see how they feel on a particular day. However, a pregnant woman’s main concern should be for herself and her unborn child.

A medical perspective

Dr Amaal Schroeder advises not to fast in your first trimester as that is when your baby grows the most and needs all the nutrients he can get.

"The foetus only uses glucose as a source of energy. When you fast your body is trying as hard as it can to maintain glucose levels. During pregnancy there are a number of ways in which the body tries to ensure a constant supply of glucose, which is why pregnancy unmasks diabetes. So, in a nutshell, maintaining normal blood glucose levels is important and fasting counters that."

She continues, "Personally I think the whole nine months is a definite no for fasting. It is still, however, the mother's decision. Everything might go well, but if it doesn't, like I've often seen, then it doesn't make sense to take that risk. You were given a concession, so just pay back the days."

What are your thoughts on fasting while pregnant? Tell us by emailing chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your comments.

Read more about your family and Ramadan here:

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