Is intermittent fasting safe for pregnant women

Can you fast during pregnancy?

Can you fast during pregnancy?

We have updated and adjusted the post for the beginning of Ramadan.

Whether it's Muslim Ramadan or Christian Lent: Some fast for religious or spiritual reasons, others want to take the opportunity to detoxify and purify the body or shed a few extra pounds before spring in order to cut a good figure in summer. But expectant mothers shouldn't follow this trend.

Don't eat for two, but don't go hungry either!

A varied and balanced diet is particularly important during pregnancy, because a good supply of micronutrients is one of the most important prerequisites for an optimal course of pregnancy and the healthy development of the child.

Although pregnant women should by no means eat for two, doctors strongly advise against fasting (partial fasting, intermittent fasting - regardless of the form) - also as a means of weight control during pregnancy.

And this has the following reasons:

1. During fasting (especially during full fasting) the poison deposits in the fat cells are dissolved and washed into the blood. This flood of toxins can have fatal consequences for the unborn child.

2. Fasting can lead to a shrinking of the placenta: On the one hand, a placenta that is too small cannot guarantee optimal care for the unborn child. On the other hand, an increased cardiovascular and diabetes risk for children can be the long-term consequence of this undersupply.

3. Fasting makes children smaller: Children whose mothers fast during pregnancy are slightly lighter as adults and smaller than children of mothers who have a full diet during this time.

4. Fasting means that fewer micronutrients are supplied to the body. In order for the baby to develop properly, this must be avoided at all costs during pregnancy.

Change of diet possible

If you are pregnant and wish to partially fast for religious reasons, you should definitely seek advice from your doctor. In the case of an unremarkable pregnancy, for example, there is nothing to be said against temporarily banning meat from your diet - but of course only under the condition that the body is adequately supplied with proteins (of vegetable origin). Fish is strongly recommended during pregnancy, but should not be consumed more than twice a week due to the potential for heavy metal pollution.

You can of course do without sweets, cola and fast food, especially since from a nutritional point of view these offer no added value for you or the baby. However, skipping entire meals, even a few, should never be part of fasting during pregnancy.

This also applies to these expectant mothers, who usually have a fasting cure in spring and actually don't want to do without it. Doctors recommend waiting for pregnancy and breastfeeding in any case - for the sake of the unborn child.

Author: Katarzyna Zajchowska & Stephan-Nicolas Kirschner

Image copyright © [puamelia] / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)