Is it safe to fast in pregnancy?

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BY SHWETHA VIJAN

New Delhi– An important question which needs to be addressed is should one fast if you are pregnant.

Answering this, Shwetha Vijan, Senior Health Coach at Mylo, an ITC-backed leading full-stack platform for new and expecting mothers, says, “Pregnancy is a very vulnerable state. The answer to “can you fast” depends on your pregnancy stage. If you fall under the first and the early second trimester, fasting can be taken up but only after your doctor’s suggestion and recommendations. Rather than taking up the traditional way of fasting, include an early morning balanced meal with good sources of protein and yes, do have some coconut water along with your meals. Also, try including some portions of fruit to keep hyperacidity at bay.”

“If you’re in the third trimester, the recommendation is not to take up the fast, as, during this trimester, the baby requires your nutritional support more than the first two trimesters,” Shwetha Vijan adds.

You are nourishing not only your body when pregnant, but also that of your unborn child. Your infant will fast if you do. Your blood sugar levels may rise during a fast without food or water, and you could become lightheaded. Fasting on any day is strongly discouraged if you have any pregnancy issues, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, among others as this puts both you and your unborn child in grave danger.

While doctors do not recommend staying empty stomach during pregnancy, if you are still adamant about keeping the fast, here are some tips to help you.

Take permission from your doctor

You have responsibility for yourself and your child’s health and well-being during your pregnancy. Anything that you consume or don’t consume can have direct consequences on your baby. Thus, before you decide to fast for the long life of your husband, make sure you visit your doctor and evaluate whether it’s a viable option for you.

Avoid physical activities

Rest is essential for women if they want their babies to be healthy and wish to avoid nausea, discomfort, and swelling during pregnancy. If you are keeping a fast, you should completely refrain from any activity unless necessary during the day. Exhaustion can lead to high blood pressure and create other problems, too.

If possible, eat fruit

Eat fruit at decided intervals which will replenish your body with nutrients and you’ll still be keeping a fruit fast. Fruit provides fibres, folate, and vitamins, and hydrate your body. Eating fruit or even consuming them as smoothies will keep exhaustion at bay and you and your baby will feel full.

Take vitamin supplements

According to your doctor’s prescription, do not miss on folic acid and Vitamin D supplements to ensure that your and your baby’s body is nourished. These supplements provide the important nutrients that come from your meals which you will miss because of the fast. During pregnancy, you must consult your doctor and consume any medicine only if it is prescribed.

Instead of caffeine, have nuts and milk

Tea or coffee are drinks that contain caffeine; you might think that it’s liquid and it’ll keep you hydrated but caffeine can increase heart rate and blood pressure, causing stress. Instead, you should have a few nuts every hour, and consume milk, or even coconut water every few hours to stay hydrated and avoid having an empty stomach. It will keep you and your baby in good shape while fasting.

However, as a pregnant woman, you must prioritise the health of your unborn child. The first recommendation I would make to you is to completely skip fasting. Modify ceremonies to your current situation if you still wish to follow the custom. (IANS)

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