Is it Safe to Fast During Pregnancy?

Fasting is one of the religious practices observed in the Hindu and Muslim communities during festivals or on certain special days. If you’re a Hindu, you’ll probably come across a Shivrathri, Navrathri, Ganesh Chaturti, Karva Chauth during the course of your pregnancy. And if you’re a Muslim or Christian, you may be required to fast for long periods during the holy month of Ramzan or Lent. If you’re pregnant and planning to observe any of the long-lasting fasts, it is important to take the permission of your health advisor before you plunge into them.

There is no hard evidence to show that is fasting is harmful. A short one-day fast, will cause not harm. But if you’re planning to fast for longer periods, it would be wise to consult your doctor before you go ahead. After reviewing your health and medical history, she will advise what is best for you.

Fasting for long periods, will most certainly take a toll on you and cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • HEadches
  • Acidity
  • Fainting

What Should You Do If You’re Fasting?

  • Do not unnecessarily exert yourself. Try and rest for the most part of the day and avoid any strenuous work that would cause exhaustion.
  • Limit exercising to the minimal or best to not exercise at all
  • Avoid foods with high sugar and beverages like tea and coffee which have caffeine
  • If your religion allows you to drink water, keep sipping water, fresh fruit juices, tender coconut water regularly.
  • If your religion is very strict about the fasts and doesn’t allow even water during the fast, seek the guidance of your doctor to handle this.

Warning Signals That You May Have To Break The Fast:

If see any of these signs, without further ado, break the fast. Continuing to do so may be harmful to the baby and you.

  • Bleeding (even light)
  • Contractions (4 or more in 1 hour)
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • A significant decrease in fetal movement
  • Blurred vision and/or intense headache

How To Break A Fast?

Include a mix of healthy foods and make sure to drink as many fluids as possible before and after the fast.

  • Keep away from sugary foods that will . If the blood sugar happens to drop quickly, you may get dizzy and faint.
  • Slow energy releasing carbohydrates, such as whole grains and seeds, and high-fibre foods, such as pulses, vegetables and dried fruits, will give you energy to help you last the long fasting hours.
  • Make sure to eat a diet rich in protein which help in the growth of your baby. Eggs, meat, beans are great sources of protein.
  • Keep sipping fluids time to time. Your intake should be around 1.5 litres to 2 litres. Caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee are best avoided as they make you lose more water during urination, so chances of getting dehydrated are high.

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