Pregnancy is a crucial period where one requires continuous care and monitoring. Women must take optimal nutrition for proper growth of the baby in the womb. You feel more hungry and while you must avoid unhealthy binges, you should not starve yourself either. Karwa Chauth is a waterless fast that married Hindu women in Northern and Western India observe for their husband’s long life. This holds religious importance but fasting while pregnant is usually not recommended, especially fasting without water. Pregnancy is a high-demand condition and the baby’s health depends on the mother for nutrition. We spoke to Dr. Soumya Krishnaiah, Consultant- Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Fortis Hospital, Nagarbhavi, to find out why pregnant women should avoid waterless fasting.
Low BP and Blood Sugar
Not eating or drinking water can cause dehydration. This can also spike blood pressure and cause sudden drop in blood sugar, which can be catastrophic for both mother and baby. It may lead to hyperglycemia and hypoxia in the baby. Also, some studies have shown that there may be a probability of low birth weight babies resulting in oligoamnios, a condition where there are low levels of amniotic fluid in the sac.
Also Read: 5 Fasting Tips For Pregnant Women
Pregnant women are asked to consume more fluids as they are prone to suffering from dehydration which can cause other complications like urinary infection. UTIs are common in pregnancy but pregnant women must take adequate measures to avoid it. This can cause health complications in the mother and may also affect the baby.
Depriving yourself of food and water for long hours can cause life-threatening consequences for the mother and child. Women who have a high-risk pregnancy or who have developed gestational diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy should not fast at all. You need to provide yourself with ample nutrition for good health and safety of the baby. One of the rare but possible consequence of dry fasting in pregnancy is miscarriage.
How to fast in pregnancy
If fasting is inevitable due to religious reasons, it has to be done in a safe way, which will help identify the problems at an early stage. Women should ensure that they do not starve themselves. Eating at regular intervals is very important and so is drinking water. Even if you cannot have grains and other items, you can have fruits and fast-appropriate food. Make sure to have something every two to three hours.
It is crucial to avoid physical activity during fasting as this might overexert your body and cause issues. If you are observing dry fasting, kindly ensure to hydrate before and after fasting. Avoid stressful situations and consult the doctor if reduced foetal movements or any other concerns like reduced urine output headaches, heartburns, loss of weight, weakness and fatigue are observed.
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