If you're pregnant or breastfeeding and observing Ramadan, you might have questions about whether or not you should fast during the month. Our breastfeeding counsellor Aishah Safdar has some answers below.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a holy month in Islam, marking when Allah began to reveal the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammed. One of the ways that Muslims show their faith is to fast during the hours of daylight, as prescribed by God in the Qur'an.
This means that during Ramadan, Muslims will get up before dawn to eat a meal, then won’t eat or drink anything again until sunset.
At the end of the month, there is a big celebration called ‘Eid ul-Fitr,’ or ‘the Festival of Breaking of the Fast.’ Muslims spend time with their family, eat a meal during the daytime and give money to charity.
Should you fast if you're pregnant or breastfeeding?
While most Muslims over the age of 14 will fast, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are not expected to, although you can if you wish.
NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor Aishah Safdar says: “In Islam, health always comes first. If for any reason it is more harmful to fast then you are exempt, this also applies to those travelling.
“Whilst many Muslims of all ages choose to fast there is no compulsion and in the case of women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding it is important they ensure that both their own health and wellbeing of their baby is not compromised in any way.
“During the summer months the fasting period can be quite long compared to the winter months and this can be an important factor to take into consideration when making any decision.
“There is always the option of feeding the poor as a way of compensating for not fasting, yet still being able to benefit from this rewarding act. It might be useful to seek professional advice before making any decision.”
What should you eat if you're fasting?
If you do decide to fast, it’s important to make sure that you hydrate well by drinking lots of water when you are permitted to eat and drink. Also make sure you eat foods that will release carbs slowly, like bread and brown rice, to fill you up for longer.
Ramadan Health Factsheet 2021 https://mcb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/MCB_Ramadan-Health-Factsh…