What rules apply to pregnant women during Ramadan?The Quran obliges every adult Muslim to fast during Ramadan. This means not eating and drinking between sunset and sunrise. Excluded from this rule are the sick and travelers. Whether a pregnancy after the Koran is to be regarded as illness, is interpreted differently. Some interpretations offer all pregnant women to catch up with fasting. Other readings make it a duty of every healthy pregnant woman to fast during Ramadan, unless there is a medical risk. If the fasting law endangers you as a mother or your child, then you do not have to fast during pregnancy - but you should make up for the days later.
In principle, therefore, as a healthy pregnant woman you can follow the Ramadan rules, but you should first talk about it with your gynecologist, the midwife, your family, your imam or sheikh.
Is it dangerous to fast and follow the rules of Ramadan?This question can not be answered with ""yes"" or ""no"". Several medical studies have dealt with the consequences of fasting and the results are not clear. Some studies indicate that fasting during pregnancy does not, or only slightly, affect the baby. Other studies seem to show that children of mothers who fasted during pregnancy later have more health problems.
However, it is difficult to compare these studies. Because some studies are not just about fasting in Ramadan during pregnancy but also about the time before.
Certainly we know:
- Several studies have looked at the impact of fasting on birth weight. Some showed that it does not matter if the mother fasted during pregnancy or not. Other studies suggest that fasting during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight in babies. However, this is especially true for babies of women who have a poor diet or low calorie intake before pregnancy.
- Studies that examined the IQ (intelligence quotient) of babies and infants showed no difference.
- Other studies have evaluated the blood samples of pregnant women who have fasted. Minor abnormalities were found that did not affect maternal health. No differences were found comparing the birth weight of the babies in the same study.
Some experts believe that fasting in Ramadan results in below-average fetal growth and premature labor.But to prove this, more large-scale studies will be needed. Basically, the women whose diet and lifestyle are usually healthy seem to tolerate Ramadan fasting better. Remember, your baby needs nutrients it can only get from you. If your body has stored enough energy, then the consequences of Ramadan fasting are less.
The effects of fasting also depend on other factors, such as:
In which trimester of pregnancy and in which week of pregnancy are you?
- Duration of fasting
- Whether Ramadan falls into the summer time, when the days long and the temperatures are high
- your overall health before pregnancy.
- So, before you begin fasting in Ramadan, you should study your health and the health consequences for you and your baby. If you, your midwife, or your doctor have any serious concerns, you should not use Ramadan this fasting this year. Talk to your partner, because only you are both able to assess your health and make the right decision. But also talk to your family, other mothers from your family and your imam or sheikh. All of these people can help you to make the right decision for yourself and your baby.
In Muslim countries, most pregnant women choose to follow the rules of Ramadan. Surveys show that 70% of Muslim pregnant women and mothers worldwide are fasting. If an expectant mother decides against fasting for health reasons, she has to make up for the missed days.What should I consider before fasting?
With good preparation, you can make Lent easier for yourself and your baby:Talk to your gynecologist or midwife before fasting. He or she can assess your health and the risk of complications such as anemia or gestational diabetes. If you are at risk, you should not fast as a pregnant woman. Even if your doctor or midwife is not worried, you should have your blood sugar test periodically during Lent.
- Contact a midwife or nutritionist. Put together your meals together. So you can be sure that you and your baby get the necessary nutrients during Lent.
- Keep a journal of your meals so you know what you ate and how much you drank.
- If you normally drink a lot of caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea or coke, reduce it slowly before Lent. This will help you avoid headaches from abrupt withdrawal.
- Prepare by doing some shopping and other work before the beginning of Ramadan, so that you have plenty of time to rest during Ramadan.
- What should I pay attention to in Ramadan?
Make sure your diet is varied and healthy:Drink a lot in the time between sunset and sunrise. This is especially true when Ramadan falls in the summer time. Otherwise you risk dehydration.
- Choose foods that will slowly add energy to your body, such as dried beans or lentils.
- Eat little sugary foods. These only increase the blood sugar level in the short term. If it then sinks again, it can lead to dizziness or even powerlessness.
- Eat proteins in the form of dried beans, nuts, well-cooked meat and eggs. Proteins are very important for the growth of the child.
- Take iron supplements after consultation with your doctor or midwife. You can take them after dinner. If you drink a lot of water, prevent constipation.
- Also take vitamin C. This improves iron absorption. But also a preparation with magnesium is recommended.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink fruit juices.
- During the day you should plan many rest periods. Take a nap or lie down for a while. More tips:
Try to lie more than sit and move a lot instead of standing.
- Do not carry heavy objects or shopping bags.
- Only pay for long walkways if you can not help it
- Reduce housework and do as little as possible.
- Get help from other members of your family. Get work done.
- The important thing is that you stay relaxed. Even if your family and friends go to bed late while breaking their fast, pregnant women are more likely to enjoy more rest.
Always remember the following symptoms and tell your doctor or midwife:In case of dizziness or fainting, or if you feel weak and tired, rest for about half an hour. If there is no improvement, you should call your doctor or midwife.
- nausea or vomiting.
- If you notice changes in the baby's movements: If the baby does not move as much as usual. When it's hard to palpate or - in the last trimester - no longer ""fails"". Then go immediately to your gynecologist.
- If you are very thirsty or if your urine gets dark and smells bad. These are signs of dehydration.
- If you have pain like labor. These could be signs of premature labor and you need to be examined quickly.
- If you do not gain or lose weight during pregnancy.
- If you have headache or other pain or fever.
- I do not know yet whether I should fast in Ramadan or not: What should I do?
Discuss your fears or concerns with your partner, family, imam or sheikh.
- Talk to your doctor or midwife. These experts can assess your health status. Give your doctor doctor's privilege to inform your religious guide about your state of health. So you can suspend the fasting this year and catch up later.
- You can start fasting and after a day or two, depending on how you feel, consult your doctor or midwife. If he or she sees a risk for you or your child during fasting, you should stop fasting.
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