Allah has mandated fasting for every post-pubescent person who is physically fit to fast and has promised an abundant reward in return. However, relieved those with sound excuses and exempted them from fasting, permitting them to break their fast until the reason for which they have been exempted is gone.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are examples of such people whom Allah has exempted from fasting. The following is some general health advice that would help such mothers with the approach of the month of Ramadhan:
- Consult the doctor to decide whether or not are able to fast during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The doctor will check you and assess the case accordingly.
- If a pregnant or breastfeeding mother fears harm upon herself because of fasting, then it her religious right to break the fast.
A pregnant woman who may face problems if she fasts must have a well balanced meal at the time of breaking fast. The meal must include starches (carbohydrates) that supply the body with the required calories, like rice, bread, mee, mee hoon or pasta. A pregnant woman usually needs around 2250 calories daily, and these calories must come from food sources that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium.
A pregnant women are advised to:
- Drink a large glass of fruit juice immediately after breaking fast.
- Stay away from meals that are difficult to digest, like deep fried foods, as this may cause indigestion.
- Avoid overeating because this may cause difficulty in breathing.
- Advised to eat a light meal between Iftar (the meal at sunset) and Sahur (the predawn meal).
- Take a good rest during the daytime.
A pregnant woman must consult the doctor before fasts to decide whether or not she is physically able to fast. This is because in the first months of pregnancy she must eat balanced meals which the fetus needs in order to grow normally, otherwise, she may endanger its health as well as hers.
Any pregnant woman who suffers from complications during pregnancy, like high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney infections or heart problems must refrain from fasting because her health situation does not permit to fast, as these complications risk the health of the fetus.
While a pregnant woman who intends to fast - and whose fasting will coincide with the last months of pregnancy - must be careful as this period is more critical than the first few months, unless her pregnancy has been normal throughout the first period.
If a pregnant woman needs to exert more effort than usual to care for her children or take care of the house, that can cause exhaustion makes her thirsty and hungry, then it would be better not to fast. Otherwise, if these things do not cause any abnormal physical stress, then she can fast.
As a bottom line, a pregnant woman must have a basic knowledge and knowing their physical abilities before committing the fast.