Is fasting safe for pregnant and nursing mothers?

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dr. Muhammad Fadli, Sp.OG
dr. Muhammad Fadli, Sp.OG. (Source: Instagram)

Jakarta, IO – Fasting represents a strong change in one’s diet pattern. Therefore, it may cause health issues for some, especially for pregnant and nursing mothers. In order to remain healthy while fasting, we suggest that they regularly consult doctors to ensure their own safety and health – as well as their baby’s. 

“Studies show that fasting during second pregnancy trimester may reduce the risk of getting high blood sugar during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), as well as preventing excess weight gain. Other studies show that fasting does not trigger either premature birth or low birth weight,” said dr. Muhammad Fadli, Sp.OG, Bamed Clinic’s pregnancy and birth specialist, in the “Is Fasting Safe for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers?” media briefing held on Thursday (31/03/2022). 

However, before fasting, pregnant mothers must ensure that the fetus’ weight is sufficient according to the age of the pregnancy, that they produce sufficient amniotic fluid, and they are aware of and alert for signs of dehydration, such as excessive thirst, dizziness, dark yellow urine, or increased inactivity of the fetus. “It is important to note that fasting during early pregnancy might become risky for pregnant mothers. During this period, the body needs a lot of important nutrients to ensure the fetus’ survival, growth and development. Unfortunately, it is also in the first trimester that mothers suffer from nausea that prevents them from eating properly, and vomiting even when they do. This causes a risk of dehydration and malnutrition in the mother, which will definitely affect the fetus,” dr. Fadli said. 

In order for the pregnant mother and fetus to remain healthy and fit, pregnant mothers should drink at least 2.5 liters of plain water a day, reduce caffeine consumption, increase the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, and reduce the intensity of outdoor activities. “As long as the doctor declares the mother and her pregnancy to be healthy, fasting is allowed with due care for nutritional satisfaction for both mother and fetus during sahur and fast breaking,” dr. Fadli said.