Pregnant women, lactating mothers need advice while fasting

Muhammad Qasim
Wednesday, Mar 29, 2023

Rawalpindi: Pregnant women and lactating mothers must take advice from qualified doctors before opting for a month-long fasting in Ramazan and they must follow a proper diet plan at the time of ‘Sehar’ and ‘Iftar’ and the time in between as a little carelessness may cause serious health threats for them.

In result of dehydration, pregnant women can have complications of which the most common is urinary tract infection (UTI). Dehydration in pregnant women may cause DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) in which blood starts clotting in the blood vessels and the clots may travel directly to heart causing sudden death so pregnant women while fasting should take sufficient quantity of water at ‘Sehar’ and ‘Iftar’, said Head of Department of Translation Research at Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University Professor Dr. Rizwana Chaudhri. She added that pregnant women and lactating mothers may have complaints of heart sinking while fasting. They may fast in case of having no complications or infections or if they are fit medically however, they must consult a qualified doctor before opting for fasting in Ramazan to avoid complications in future.

Professor Rizwana, who has served as Dean and HOD Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rawalpindi Medical University and Allied Hospitals said that pregnant women become more vulnerable to dehydration and urinary tract infections if they do not take care of diet while fasting.

The pregnant women having diseases like diabetes or renal infection should not go for fasting without prior advice from a doctor. It is observed that even medically fit pregnant or lactating mothers can have complications if they do not take proper food and fluids while fasting, she added. She explained that in case a pregnant woman is not having adequate food and fluids at the time of ‘Sehar’ and ‘Iftar’, her baby (fetus) might face severe growth retardation. Initially the fetus growth might go normal but with the passage of time, it might decline so pregnant women must need advice from their gynaecologists while fasting.

In the first trimester (first three months of pregnancy), women face problems of nausea and vomiting and also they cannot take plenty of food and fluids, which is necessary for fasting. Women in the first trimester – if having complaints of vomiting and nausea – could not fast but if they are not feeling too much nausea and can take sufficient diet, they may fast, said Dr. Rizwana. She added in the second or third trimester, a woman may fast but with a condition that she is able to take proper food and fluids. A pregnant woman needs at least three litres of water daily and if she can have that along with sufficient food, she may fast, she explained.

During pregnancy or lactation, a mother needs high protein food including A class proteins found in fish, meat and chicken and B class proteins found in pulses and eggs and the same criterion, she needs to follow while fasting. However, a pregnant woman who is overweight should strictly avoid fats and carbohydrates as being overweight causes complications at the time of birth of the baby, she said.

Dr. Rizwana suggested that a pregnant or lactating mother, while fasting, should take at least three glasses full of water at the time of ‘Sehar’. Likewise, she should take plenty of fluids at the time of ‘Iftar’ and after, before going to bed, she concluded.