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Ramzan: Study says ‘Pregnant women can fast’

HYDERABAD: According to health experts fasting when done with certain precautions will neither affect the weight of the baby nor lead to premature delivery.

With Ramzan round the corner, doctors suggest that pregnant women can fast safely. They should, however, consult their physician before proceeding for fasting.

Though Islam exempts pregnant women and lactating mothers from fasting during the month of Ramzan still many of them prefer to fast for spiritual reasons. This has created scientific interest among researchers worldwide to find out whether pregnant women, who observe intermittent or Ramzan fasting, deliver low-weight babies.

The study was published in the recent issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Healthy Muslim women considering becoming pregnant prior to or during Ramzan can be advised that fasting does not seem to have a detrimental effect on the size (weight) of their baby and it appears not to increase the likelihood of giving birth pre maturely ,” said a team of researchers from the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds, UK.

“Fasting by pregnant women will not affect the weight of the baby,” said Dr Aftab Ahmad, expert in internal medicine at Apollo Hospitals, Secunderabad.

“There is no major change in the calorie intake by pregnant women, who fast, and those who do not. Only the timing of meal differs. Hence, fasting women will not be affected. There is also no impact on their babies,” Dr Aftab Ahmad said, suggesting that pregnant women should consult their doctors for expert medical advice and evaluation of their health.

“However, if women are diagnosed for Gestational Diabetes and blood sugar levels are uncontrollable then it is not advisable for pregnant women to take up fasting,” he added.