Keeping a fast during pregnancy has always been a debatable issue as one has to consider the woman’s personal belief, religious sentiments, and health issues. There are a few guidelines a pregnant woman should reflect on before deciding to go ahead with the fast.
Should You Keep the Fast?
If you decide to keep the Fast
- Take an Expert’s Opinion: When keeping a fast, it is important to keep in mind your and your baby's health condition. Keep the fast, only if you feel strong and well enough and if your pregnancy has been a smooth journey so far. But in the case of any health disruptions, it is advisable you consult your doctor and take their advice before deciding to keep the fast.
- Women who have experienced extreme nausea or morning sickness in the past are advised not to keep the fast.
- Women who are in their first or third trimester are also advised against keeping the fast. This is because the first trimester is the most delicate one, where most pregnancies go wrong while the third trimester is the stage when the baby grows the most and thus requires a lot of essential minerals and vitamins in order to grow properly.
- The breastfeeding mothers need to remember that breastfeeding tends to make you extremely thirsty and leaves you tired. If you have recently delivered your baby, you need to give your body enough time to adjust to the changes before deciding to keep the fast. You should not force your body to do anything it is not prepared to do.
- Mothers who have sugar problems like diabetes, or other health problems are advised not to keep fast or alternatively, they should consult their doctors before going ahead with it.
- It is also beneficial if you consider your doctor or dietician in advance, in case there are any dietary needs you need to keep in mind.
- Be Aware of the Effects: If you decide to keep the fast, it is crucial you know the health complications caused by it. Not eating and drinking for a long stretch can cause issues such as fatigue, acute headache, acidity, dizziness and faint spells. In the case of any severe health deterioration, consult the doctor immediately.
Once you have made up your mind to keep the fast, it is vital to keep a few things in mind:
BEFORE THE FAST :
DURING THE FAST
- Keep your body sufficiently hydrated. Dehydration can pose a lot of troubles for both pregnant ladies as well as breastfeeding mothers as dehydration can cause fatigue, dizziness and hinders the milk supply.
- Avoid tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drink as they tend to cause headaches because of caffeine withdrawal and tends to make you thirstier.
BREAKING THE FAST
- Try not to have foods with high sugar content as sugary foods tend to dehydrate and tire you. Replace them with fresh fruits instead.
- It is recommended that you do not indulge in any physical exertion as the body is deprived of essential vitamins which give you strength and energy.
- Making some changes in the fasting process when you are pregnant or breastfeeding will do you no harm. Certain fasting foods such as fruits, nuts, juices, and coconut water are allowed. You need to remember that the baby gains the requisite nutrients from the mother. Ensure you are having them, especially coconut water, at regular intervals. The breastfeeding mothers should have a glass of water with sugar and salt in it at least twice in the day to keep themselves hydrated and energized.
- Be calm and don't take the stress. Try and distract yourself so you are not thinking about the fast. Be positive about the whole scenario. Remind yourself about the good purpose behind the fast as it will help you to look at it with a positive outlook. You can have a little chat with your baby, telling him about the fast and how mommy is going to need his corporation throughout the day.
- Take some suggestions from friends and relatives who have kept fast when they were pregnant.
- Don’t hesitate to take help when offered, after all, it is for your wellbeing.
- Most importantly, listen to your body. In case you feel the slightest bit of discomfort or uneasiness, consult the doctor or break the fast.
When breaking your fast, do not go for a large meal altogether. It is advised to give your body food in small portions as one needs to remember that due to pregnancy, the size of your stomach has also reduced. Since your body will be deprived of some vital nutrients throughout the day, break your fast using healthy items such as pulses, grains, dry fruits, beans etc. as they are rich in protein and fiber.
Lastly, keeping a fast should strictly be a personal decision. Don’t do it because of any pressure or because it is expected from you. Remember your health and your baby’s health are of foremost importance and everything else is secondary.
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