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Fasting While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

If you are going to give birth to an innocent soul, or have just become a mother, you must be overwhelmed with the latest changes in your life. If you are thinking of the fasting, you might be confused that it will be good for the baby and whether you should fast while being pregnant or breastfeeding.

Quite simply, the answer to both of these questions is affirmative. It is entirely okay to fast while pregnant or breastfeeding if you take appropriate measures to ensure you and your kid is healthy. For example, in ordinary situations, fasting and exercising should be combined to achieve maximum results. However, in the case of pregnant women, excessive physical activity must be avoided, especially during fasting, to make sure you are not burning off calories that are essential for the baby.

In the case of breastfeeding women, hydration is of utmost importance as water is the major component of breast milk.

Medical Point of View

There are many types of fasting methods out there, so it can become quite challenging to select the right one for pregnant women. Health experts like the researches by Healthline and Center for Fetal Medicine & Women’s Ultrasound say that there is no direct negative effect of fasting on pregnant women or new mothers.

One of the studies, however, do state that there is a weak link between intermittent fasting and premature labor, along with the possibility of the newborn being underweight and shorter. Hence, they also recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctors to determine the appropriate method of fasting according to their health condition.

Religious Point of View

Different religions have varying teachings regarding fasting in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

In Islam, pregnant women are not under the obligation to fast during the month of Ramadan. However, some of them choose to fast anyways because of their religious and cultural tradition. A study from Medicine in Islamic Culture indicates there was no significant difference in the babies born to mothers who fasted during the whole holy month.

Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday in which you have to stop the consumption of both food and water for a period of 25 hours. Many experts have warned pregnant women against fasting on this holiday, as some data has proven that such a long fast is responsible for inducing early labor. Catholic pregnant women are also not obligated to fast according to their religious teachings.

Fasting while Breastfeeding

Just like with the pregnant women, the new mothers need to discuss their fasting plans with their doctors to make sure it is beneficial for the mother as well as the newborn. You should extensively discuss the duration and type of the fast with your doctor to minimize any possible complications, for example, dehydration, lack of breast milk, and less nutritious milk, associated with fasting while breastfeeding.

If you follow the guidelines provided by a medical expert or your own doctor, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of fasting and keeping your baby healthy and happy as well.  

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