Fasting is an integral concept in many religions of the world as a practice of abstinence and control over one’s material urges. The most widely observed ritual of fasting is the month of Ramadan which is observed by Muslims all over the world where they abstain from all food and drink from dawn till sunset each day for the whole month. Christians also observe a similar period known as the Lenten season.
This is a period starting after the events of Mardi Gras on Ash Wednesday and culminating six weeks later on Easter. Christians of various disciplines including Roman Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox observe this period as a means of purification and repentance marked by days of fasting as a sign of giving up worldly comforts in order to atone for ones sins.
Fasting during Ramadan can be a tough physical challenge specially during the summer months since all kinds of food and drink, even water is prohibited during the fasting hours of the day. Because of this physical challenge, Allah has allowed exemptions from fasting during Ramadan for those people who are sick, weak etc and make up for these missed fasts in later days when they are in good health. Among these exemptions, also come women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Since the reward for fasting in Ramadan is so high many people don’t want to let go of this opportunity and even breastfeeding or pregnant women may feel they are capable of fasting. In these cases some precautions should be taken which we discuss below.
The first and foremost step is to consult your doctor on whether your condition allows you to keep fasts or not and what kind of effect will it have on the mother and her child.
It must be noted that if a pregnant or breastfeeding woman has any fears for her or her childs health then it is well within her rights to break her fast or skip it completely and there is no sin for that and neither should anyone question her for her decision.
Pregnant women in their late stages of pregnancy and those who suffer from diabetes, heart conditions, kidney infections or blood pressure issues are advised to not fast since doing so might result in unexpected complications regarding their health and knowingly endangering yourself or your child’s life is not considered a good thing in Islam or any religion.
Those pregnant women who do decide to fast must take care of their health, The first and foremost thing is not to indulge in too much activity and take a good rest during the day. This means avoiding heavy chores altogether and the rest of the family members should take extra care to relieve the workload of the mother.
Another important consideration is to ensure that the lady in question receives the full quota of nutrients that are necessary for herself and her child during pregnancy. An estimated calorie requirement is 2250 calories per day apart from vital nutrients like vitamins, calcium and Iron.
This means eating a well balanced diet during Iftar which includes healthy foods like vegetables, pasta, and dairy. Fruit juices are also beneficial as they contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Oily and heavy foods should be avoided since they may cause problems in digestion.
[alert-announce]The rules for fasting during lent season are quite different from Ramadan. Christians between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast on Ash Wednesdays and Good Friday and abstain from meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays before Easter.[/alert-announce]
However light snacks are allowed during the day of the fast as long as only one full meal is taken at anytime during the day.
It must also be noted that dairy products, eggs, and dishes made from animal fat are not considered as meat so they can be eaten on these days. Also food like gravy, broths and other sauces flavored with meat are also not prohibited so the pregnant women have a much less strict guidelines to take care of if they want to fast during lent.