HMC advises pregnant and breastfeeding women to take precautions while fasting during Ramadan
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) advises pregnant and breastfeeding women to take necessary precautions while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
HMC advises pregnant women to avoid fasting during the holy month of Ramadan if she has pregnancy complications; diabetes, high blood pressure, or anemia.
General health check-up is recommended for breastfeeding mothers in order to ascertain their fitness and ensure their child’s well-being before fasting.
“Pregnant women with underlying health conditions should avoid fasting in order to protect themselves and their unborn babies from any further unwanted complications.
However, pregnant women who are willing to fast during Ramadan should seek their doctor’s advice throughout the month to make sure that fasting is not affecting their baby,” said Dr. Faten El Taher, Senior Consultant in Obstetrics/Gynecology at HMC’s Women’s Wellness and Research Center.
There are some concerns that fasting may affect how well a baby grows in the uterus (womb), or that fasting may be linked to premature labor. There is usually an increase in the number of pregnant women visiting our Emergency Department during Ramadan due to fasting.
Some studies suggest that more babies are born early if their mothers fast during Ramadan. If Ramadan coincides with the summer months, this means hot weather and long days, which puts pregnant women at greater risk of dehydration due to a low fluid intake. This could induce premature labor and subsequently lead to preterm births,” added Dr. El Taher.
Fasting pregnant women should consult their doctor soonest if they are not putting on enough weight or losing weight, become very thirsty, urinating less frequently, and if their urine becomes dark-colored and strong-smelling.
This is a sign of dehydration and it can make them more prone to urinary tract infections or other complications such as develop a headache, fever, nausea, or vomiting.
She added that they should contact their doctor “straight away” if there is a noticeable change in their baby’s movements, such as if the baby is not moving around or kicking as much; they notice contraction-like pains - this could be a sign of premature labor; and they feel dizzy, faint, weak, confused or tired, even after they have had a good rest.
“If any of the instances above occur, women should break their fast immediately and drink water containing salt and sugar or an oral rehydration solution. They should also contact their doctor immediately,” Dr. El Taher concluded.
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