Observing Ramadan while pregnant… a matter for the individual

[22 August 2011 - 15h37] [updated the 22 December 2013 à 20h43]

People who are ill and pregnant women can be excused from observing the fast of Ramadan. However, many mothers-to-be do not want to miss out on this fundamental pillar of the Muslim faith. And, in principle, there is no major reason why they should. According to Professor Philippe Deruelle, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Lille University Hospital, they simply need to take a few precautions

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“We shouldn’t take a systematic attitude to pregnant women who wish to observe Ramadan rigorously”, he explains. The important thing is to look at the practice of fasting on an individual basis. Some women who are free from any health problems can cope with it perfectly well … even during pregnancy. Other women will have more trouble doing so and may suffer from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Others may already be experiencing some form of illness or problem during their pregnancy. In such cases, fasting must be advised against. At any event, the best thing is to consult your doctor about it as, in some cases, it may be possible to adjust your treatment so that you are in fact able to observe the fast.

If a pregnant woman decides to fast for Ramadan, this does not carry any risk for the unborn child. But to observe Ramadan safely and enjoy a problem-free pregnancy, here are a few basic pieces of advice:
– Before deciding to fast for Ramadan, go and see your doctor. He or she will be able to check your general state of health and, especially, ensure that you are not suffering from any iron or vitamin deficiency;
– Keeping well hydrated is essential for everyone and particularly for pregnant women. This is especially important if a woman is pregnant and observing the fast of Ramadan. Make sure you drink plenty of water in the morning and evening;
– Organise your day so that you can enjoy the benefits of eating a good, nutritious breakfast. To ensure this, you will need to set your alarm clock for before sunrise. If you don’t eat this key meal, holding out for the rest of the day can be very difficult.
– Breaking the fast in the evening is an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. Dinner is made up of various traditional dishes, including plenty of very sweet pastries. Take your food slowly and steadily and avoid pouncing on sugary treats straight away.

This post is also available in French, Arabic

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