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Ramadan in Pregnancy & during Breastfeeding

Ramadan Kareem - the month of fasting. So beautiful and full of blessings and my favourite time of the year. Ramadan lasts between 29-30 days, and it always ends with the arrival of Eid al-Fitr which literally translates to ‘festival of breaking fast’.

Why do Muslims fast? …

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a deeply spiritual act of worship, it is a mean to transform us, both internally and externally. When we fast, we reduce our intake of food and drink, eating one meal just before dawn (Sahoor) and another after sunset (Iftar).

Choosing to fast or not during pregnancy & whilst breastfeeding can be challenging. Islam exempts fasting in Ramadan during sickness, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Yet, some women still choose to fast. Below are some of my top tips on how to help yourself if you choose to fast and alternatives to fasting during this time.

Tips to fast during pregnancy if you choose to:

  • Foods - The pre-dawn meal (Sahoor) can be really beneficial in the day to come in reducing the chances of any fatigue and dehydration so try not to miss this. Try to avoid salty and greasy foods and remember to still include fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet during this time. Choose to include slow releasing energy foods such as carbohydrates to help sustain your energy levels.

  • Hydration – drink plenty of water during Sahoor and Iftar. Avoid fizzy and caffeinated drinks.

  • Medications – continue to take any prescribed medications as planned (daily Vitamin D is encouraged for all women throughout pregnancy & whilst breastfeeding as well as folic acid for women throughout the first trimester).

  • Plan - try to prepare food for the next day once the fast has opened, allowing time for more rest during the day whilst fasting.

  • Rest – make sure you get plenty of rest to rejuvenate your energy levels especially during the daylight hours. Leave household chores to after the fast.

  • Exercise - try to be gently active through light exercise such as walking, yoga or pilates and consider adapting any work patterns if able. For instance, during Ramadan I work mainly night shifts to allow my body to keep hydrated as possible during shift.

  • Accountability partner – pairing up with someone to help maintain and meet goals can give extra support and encouragement.

  • Remember to still seek advice from the hospital that you are booked at if you have any concerns about your baby or yourself during Ramadan.

  • Watch out for signs of dehydration such as dark urine, dizziness and headaches.

If you have chosen not to fast there are many other ways to benefit and reap rewards;

  • Donate time or money to a charity

  • Providing Iftar to family and friends

  • Reading Dhikr, general Dhikr remembering Allah at any time, Specific Dhikr, Supplications and reciting the Quran (Holy book)

  • Read the Hadith

  • Spending quality time with loved ones

The benefits are immense for both! Stay blessed stay safe,

Ramadan Kareem by Ruksana – Muslim & practicing midwife.

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