Pregnant women can fast if their health allows them

Shall we fast or not -- is one of the most frequently asked question by pregnant women in the month of Ramadan.

Although religion exempt women from keeping fast during pregnancy but there are still many pregnant ladies who choose to do it. 

As per to the experts pregnancy is a ‘physiological process’ and not a medical disorder unless it’s not a high-risk pregnancy.

Medically a woman can fast in such a manner that won’t pose any risk to her or her child’s health. 

“Women can fast alternately so that they can fulfil the religious obligation as well as remain healthy,” says Dr Arifa, a Gynea. 

Doctors say that fasting on alternate days help women in maintaining the energy levels. 

Health experts say that pregnant women can fast at no risk of premature birth upto the 20th week of pregnancy.

As per to the experts pregnancy is a ‘physiological process’ and not a medical disorder unless it’s not a high-risk pregnancy.

“As a doctor I cannot tell my patient whether she should observe fast or not. It’s an individual decision that a woman has to make. If there are no complications associated with pregnancy, then she must not be discouraged to do so,” says Dr Zahida Shah, clinical exercise specialist and lifestyle and weight management consultant.

Dr Shah adds that when an expecting mother is fasting her consultations with her doctor should be frequent. 

“If a pregnant woman cannot fast after the childbirth for any reasons, she must donate some money as charity.”

“It helps us to keep a check over mother’s and foetal health. Also there should be some regular medical examinations.”

Health experts say that pregnant women can fast at no risk of premature birth upto the 20th week of pregnancy. 

But if case of diabetes, renal/kidney stone, uncontrolled hypertension, anaemia or twin pregnancy, it is not advisable for her to fast.

“But if she is free from all these conditions and feels that there is no risk to her and her baby’s health, fasting is advisable only up to 20th week and not beyond,” says Andleeb Basu, a nutrition expert from Fortis Healthcare, New Delhi.

Religion also has exempted a pregnant woman from fasting but is expected to make up the missed days once the child is born.

“As per Islamic law a pregnant woman has a clear permission not to fast, and to make up the missed days later. If she is unable to do this, she must perform ‘fidyah’ -- a method of giving alms in compensation for missing fasts.

“If a pregnant woman cannot fast after the childbirth for any reasons, she must donate some money as charity,” says Abdul Waqaas, a local preacher.

 

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