Is fasting dangerous for pregnant women?

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Is fasting dangerous for pregnant women?

Although Islam allows pregnant women to not fast during Ramadan, many expectant mothers still insist on doing so.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Sun 22 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 23 May 2016, 9:27 AM

Whether expectant mothers should fast during Ramadan is a much-debated topic, as some experts suggest that it is safe for both the mother and unborn child, while others urge pregnant women to avoid fasting completely, stressing that it could harm the health of the fetus.
Although Islam allows pregnant women to not fast during Ramadan, many expectant mothers still insist on doing so.
Dr Muhaj Mahdi Saleh Alshaikhli, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology at Burjeel, told Khaleej Times that expectant mothers who wish to fast must first consult the doctor.
"The patient should look out for warning signs such as dehydration, dizziness, vomiting or headaches if she is fasting, especially during UAE's hot summer, as it could affect her wellbeing."
Dr Alshaikhli pointed out that it is vital for pregnant women to put on enough healthy weight if she chooses to fast. "It is unhealthy for her to lose weight."
"If the pregnant woman is feeling thirsty, not passing urine regularly, or if her urine is dark, she must consult her doctor, as it could lead to urinary tract infection," she added.
Another critical health risk for mothers-to-be is the change in the baby's movement. "If the baby is not moving or kicking as much as before, or if the woman feels cramps and pain, then it could be signs of premature labour."
"A pregnant woman should break her fast immediately if she feels dehydrated, confused, weak or dizzy, as it might be signs of low blood sugar," she further noted.
However, she advises expectant mothers who are fasting, to eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, vitamins and protein.
"Along with 1.5-2 litres of water, she should insure that her meals include wholegrain seeds, fruits and vegetables, as well as dried fruit, which are loaded with fibre. Protein from animal and non-animal sources, such as beans and nuts, is also important."
"Avoid fatty and sugary food, because it causes a rise in blood sugar, which can lead to dizziness for the pregnant woman."
Dr Alshaikhli highlighted that in most cases, whether pregnant women should fast or not, often depends on their general health, and whether they are fit to begin with.

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