Healthy Foods to Consume in Pregnancy during Ramadan

Hey mom-to-be, pregnancy is such a wonderful time to gorge on your favourite, nutritious meals throughout the day, right? While you are enjoying this beautiful time in your life, we also know you might be practising Ramadan. Although you might want to keep a fast, you can make up for the missed fasts later or compensate through Fidyah. But if you choose to keep a fast in your pregnancy during Ramadan, remember that you must eat well to get all the required nutrients that help your baby grow healthy.

Fasting during pregnancy will depend on different factors like your health condition, work commitments, the week of pregnancy and more, so it is a personal decision.

Here is an article that talks about the fasting and Ramadan diet chart during pregnancy to support you with the decision.

Is it safe to fast during pregnancy?

This topic is still under research, and we still don’t know for sure whether it is safe for both you and your baby to fast during pregnancy. However, most medical experts recommend against fasting while you’re expecting. Doctors have observed that fasting could increase the risks of dehydration if Ramadan falls in summer. This could impact your baby's growth, as it may affect the functioning of your kidneys and the amount of fluid that surrounds your little one.

So, the impact of fasting during pregnancy depends on the overall health of the mother, the pregnancy week, and the season in which Ramadan falls. It is difficult to conclude the effect of fasting during your pregnancy on your health and your baby's development without complete research. It is, therefore, best to consult your doctor before deciding on fasting.

Healthy foods to consume during the Ramadan diet

Pregnancy demands a lot of nutrients and fluids to maintain your and your baby's health. If you choose to fast during Ramadan while you are pregnant, there are some healthy food options that you can consider after talking to your doctor.

How often to keep a fast

One good tip your doctor might recommend is the option of fasting on some days (like alternate days or weekends) instead of all days of the month. This way, it will be a bit more manageable for you, and you can take care of yourself and the baby, too.

How to pace your meals

If you are fasting through the day, you must do it right by eating enough from dusk till dawn. You need to eat healthy so that your body gets all the required nutrients to help your baby grow. Not eating enough can affect your baby's growth. So here are some food rules you can follow while fasting:

Do your Iftar right

You can break your fast by eating three dates and drinking a glass of fresh juice, as these are packed with essential nutrients and help your body regain normal sugar levels. You can then have a bowl of fresh curd followed by some soup (vegetable or chicken).

Include some greens

Leafy vegetables are a good source of folic acid and iron, so make sure you include some green vegetables in your Iftar. You can have spinach, fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, coriander, mint, turnip greens, spring onions, radish leaves, and lamb's quarter.

Don't forget your proteins

Chicken, meat, fish, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and green beans are excellent sources of protein and iron. It is always a good idea to include some portions of either of these food items in your Iftar.

Carbohydrates can't be skipped

While fasting, your body requires some stored energy to help you get through the day. And what's better than a mix of simple and complex carbohydrates? Include some complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato, and whole wheat flour or bread, as these release energy over a longer time. Get a faster boost of energy with all-purpose flour or white bread and white rice, as these simple carbohydrates get digested and absorbed quickly. Always include a mix of these both in your Iftar.

It is best to avoid foods rich in fats, as you do not want to put on excess weight or feel full quite soon. Most of the dishes have a healthier version – how about baking those samosas rather than deep-frying them?

Fruits are essential

Choose fruit over that dessert in front of you! When you crave anything sweet, pick a fruit you love. This will give your body the required amounts of not only sugar but also vital nutrients.

The key is to stay hydrated

Remember, you need to stay hydrated throughout the day. So, keep drinking enough water between Iftar and Sehri. As Ramzan falls in the summer season mostly, try staying indoors and keeping cool to avoid losing the fluids in your body through sweat. You can also add coconut water and lemon water to your fluids-to-drink list.

Say no to caffeine

We know it hurts when asked to exclude tea or coffee from your routine, especially if your tea/coffee-lover. But did you know caffeine reduces the ability of your body to absorb iron? Also, tea and coffee are diuretics – they drain water from your body. So, it is best to avoid tea, coffee, soda, and even caffeine-containing chocolates. If you still can't stay away, consuming around 200 gm of caffeine a day is considered to be safe. Do follow it up with a glass of water.

Don't miss Sehri

Include foods rich in fibre, as these food items release energy slowly. Consider whole grains, pulses, nuts and dried fruits, seeds for your Sehri. You can also include bananas and dates.

These are some of the must-include foods in the diet plan for pregnant women, so make sure you get as many nutrients as you can through them.

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