Pregnancy comes with perks like eating what you want, you have to go carefree with dieting. Women follow their urges, instincts, and craving for the food and follow it intermittently. Why would you skip this freedom and stay a day without food?
What could be the effects of fasting on you and baby?
- Probability of preterm labor
- Dehydration and Constipation
- Low birth weight
- Both mom and child can be deprived of essential nutrients.
- Stress and weakness.
- Reduced frequency of urine.
- Dark-colored smelling urine leading to UTI.
There are no general or medical reasons to prove that it is unhealthy to fast during pregnancy but it’s negative impacts slightly weighs higher than the positive ones.
Reasons why you shouldn’t fast during Pregnancy
Basically, it is recommended not to stay hungry while having someone waiting for food inside you. Women are motivated by fasting either through some religious reason or to detoxify the body. It is generally estimated that women should not fast during the first trimester as it may result in low birth weight in babies. But how far that is true?
You’re not putting on weight
Fasting results in a lack of minerals and nutrients that reach your body. It is very crucial to have a healthy weight gain when you are pregnant. Doctors provide you with prenatal vitamins and a good source of carb and fats to put on weight. When you break with the usual meal and stay hungry then it gets difficult for you to put on weight.
Urinary Tract Infection
It is possible to feel thirsty very less while fasting. You are not eating salty or sugary food to arouse extreme thirst. When you drink less water, it will lead to dehydration and finally very little urine. Once your urine starts getting dark in color, you need to be alert for urinary tract infection.
This is a serious discomfort which can double up problems in your pregnancy and make it a complicated one.
Dizzy, tired and uncomfortable
Staying hungry for the entire day will drain all your energy. Pregnancy already comes with a feeling where you want to keep munching. When you don’t eat, you start getting irritated and tired. It will obviously make you dizzy and energy less. You need to have both solid and fluid intake to keep you lively and energetic.
Fasting will only make your pregnancy a challenging one. If you already have insomnia, you will find it difficult to cope as well. Therefore, know the ideal tips to cope with insomnia while pregnant.
Risks to Baby
Women who fast during pregnancy give birth to babies who are lower in weight. It is said that fasting leads to smaller babies and some health issues in adulthood. Though there is no evidence to show the outcome of fasting as it differs from person to person.
But during pregnancy, your baby is of the topmost priority and lack of nutrients will obviously pose a problem for the baby inside your womb.
Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes, and Preeclampsia
Women who are diabetic cannot afford to fast as they need to keep their blood sugar in control. There is also a threat to developing gestational diabetes due to your poor appetite. Dehydration may also cause preeclampsia and hypertensive disorders. Fasting will only increase the discomforts associated with pregnancy.
Dehydration during fasting leads to the growth of the placenta across the opening of the cervix and uterus area. The uterus may start contracting and might get irritated. The condition is called Placenta Previa and it is the most dangerous condition for pregnant women
Change in the baby movement
It has been witnessed that fasting also results in a gradual stop in the baby movements. It is very important to count the kicks of a baby during the last trimester. It gives a message of his or her well being but what if the baby doesn’t kick at all.
You need to consult your doctor immediately and avoid taking the risk of staying hungry during pregnancy.
Undernutrition during pregnancy may program the fetus to go through metabolic and physiological responses resulting in various diseases later on in life like cardio-renal dysfunction.
Throughout the pregnancy, if there is intermittent fasting that goes on then it will definitely affect the placenta, fetal growth, amino acid concentration, and yolk sac.
Iron deficiency and anemia
Pregnant women are mostly low in iron so likewise, the doctor also provides iron supplements. In such a scenario, when the baby doesn’t get enough iron particularly in the third trimester then they may be at a higher risk of developing anemia before their first birthday.
Constipation and Indigestion
Fasting can sometimes bring on indigestion if you are eating before dawn. You go back straight to bed after that which may cause an upset tummy. Lack of fluids and a change in diet can also cause extreme constipation. Fasting can also interfere with you coping with pregnancy mood swings.
Frequently Asked Questions on Fasting During Pregnancy
1. How can I make my fasting easier?
You need to cut down on tea and coffee, drink plenty of fluids, and don’t overstress yourself with work. It is best to be avoided.
2. Breaking a fast: The best way should be?
Always break your fast with a lighter meal like soup and foods that contain natural sugar. Then u can start eating a healthy balance of starchy foods, fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein, and other well-cooked nutritious food.
3. Is it okay to fast during the second trimester for slowing down the weight gain?
You need to discuss these things with your mind wide. Your baby is still growing and there is nothing above the safety of the baby. Don’t focus on losing weight as pregnancy is a short period and it can be done later.
Women often feel guilty when they skip fasting. The religious sentiments are so high for women fasting during Ramadan or women fasting during Navaratri that they don’t want to skip the opportunity to follow the custom. A charity can be a good compensation against fasting provided women agree with it.
You always have to keep your health and your baby’s health in mind while following these practices so if you feel it’s inevitable then consult your midwife and do it with proper precautions.
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Mother of Two children. I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for Good parenting. I understand child development and know how to develop activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.