Fasting during pregnancy: Is it safe?

Fasting during pregnancy

In India, many women fast for certain festivals like Karva ChauthMaha Shivarathri, Ramzan or Teej. And one or more of these are bound to pop up at least one time in the course of your pregnancy. And for religious reasons, many women choose to continue fasting, even if pregnant.

If you’re planning to fast for long spells such as NavratrasRamzan or Lent, it is extremely important to know how to take care of yourself and have a good experience that won’t harm your baby.

Is a pregnancy fast safe for you?

Experts are divided on this. Be aware that no religious festival calls for pregnant women to fast. It is a personal choice. And there is no clear answer to the question either. While, no one can absolutely reassure you that fasting is ok for you and your baby, it would appear that it is safer when you feel strong and well enough, and if your pregnancy is going well overall.

The one thing you absolutely must consider is the coincidence of the season during which the fast takes place and its duration. For instance, if Ramzan occurs in summer, you could find yourself seriously dehydrated, especially if you carry on with everyday activities.

Risks associated with fasting during pregnancy

  • Headaches
  • dizzy spells
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • severe acidity

If you begin having any of these symptoms, you must consult your doctor immediately.

Tips - if you decide to fast

Understand that some religions and/or festivals do not permit any form of food or even water during the fast. This is definitely not recommended when you’re pregnant.

Some religions allow specific fasting foods.

  • Continue having your multivitamin.
  • If the weather is hot and humid, try to remain indoors during the peak sun hours.
  • Try not to have caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea during your fast. They dehydrate you.
  • Try to get some rest for some time during the daytime. Avoid strenuous work or exercise when you're fasting.
  • If you are allowed to have fluids, make sure to keep sipping water, milk or other liquids in short intervals.
  • Fasting tends to slow down your digestive system. So make sure to break your fast slowly. Drink a small glass of coconut water or juice first, and then have a light meal.
  • If you suffer from extreme exhaustion, palpitations, fatigue, abdominal cramps, nausea or acidity, see your doctor immediately.