Though some medical personnel advise against it, many women choose to fast during pregnancy due to their personal beliefs or religious commitments.
At least once in the course of your nine months of pregnancy, you may find the need to seek God’s face with fasting and prayers.
If you want to fast, especially for long spells such as Lent, it’s important to take extra care of yourself. Read on to find out how to make your fasting experience a good one.
Is it safe to fast during pregnancy?
There’s no clear answer. Despite research, we can’t be sure that fasting is safe for you and your baby.
However, fasting in pregnancy appears to be safer for you and your baby if you feel strong and well enough, and if your pregnancy is going well.
If you don’t feel well enough to fast, or are worried about your health or your baby’s wellbeing, speak to your doctor before deciding to fast. She will most likely review your physical health and medical history. She’ll probably check for other complications, such as gestational diabetes, anaemia or multiple pregnancies before giving you the go-ahead.
One factor that is important is when the fast takes place. For example, if you are fasting during the hot weather, this means you stand a greater risk of dehydration.
It is also important to note that, fasting for long periods may cause:
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.
What are the things I should keep in mind if I’m fasting?
- Speak to your doctor and pastor on how best you can handle this.
- If the weather is hot and humid, stay indoors during the peak heat hours.
- If fluids are allowed ensure you keep sipping water, milk or fresh fruit juices to regular intervals.
- Try to rest for some time during the day. It is best to not do any strenuous work and exercise while you’re fasting.
- Fasting slows down your digestive system, so remember to break your fast slowly. Drink a small glass of juice or coconut water first and then follow it up with a light meal.
- If you suffer from extreme exhaustion, fatigue, palpitations, abdominal cramps or severe nausea and acidity speak to your doctor right away.
I feel bad about missing my fast, are there any other options that I could consider?
For many women fasting is an integral part of their lives. So it’s understandable that you are upset at the thought of giving up something you value deeply.
Consider the following:
- Instead of a daily fast, can you fast on the first and last day of the fasting period?
- Is it possible to fast weekly or on alternate days instead of a daily fast?
- Are there any exemptions or allowances for pregnant women, such as breaking the fast early?