Whether to fast or not to fast if you pregnant in the UAE is confusing to many women. We asked a female PT in Abu Dhabi for her thoughts on the subject.
Fasting during the Holy month can take it’s toll on the body. Seniors and pregnant women have to be especially careful when it comes to fasting during Ramadan. Although fitness coaches and personal nutritionists can help it is advised that you always seek medical advice before changing your diet and your diet patterns in the UAE if you are pregnant.
Dieting (or restricting foods) during the pre-natal phase of pregnancy is often seen as a bad idea by medical professionals. But, the dilemma of whether to fast or not to fast in the UAE does cause concern for many pre-natal women. Generally, pregnant women in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are advised that if they are considering fasting during Ramadan they should seek medical advice.
Without providing medical advice, what advice can you provide as a professional pre natal personal trainer to women who are considering fasting in the UAE?
If you decide to fast during Ramadan in the UAE the tips below will make it more manageable for you and your baby.
Pregnancy is quite a demanding time for your body in terms of nutrients and fluids it needs.
If you do decide to fast during Ramadan, you may wish to consider fasting on some but not all days of the month e.g. fasting on alternate days or at weekends to try and make it a bit more manageable.
Keep A Check On Your Hydration
If you are fasting, dehydration is something to watch out for, especially as Ramadan falls during long hot summer days in the UAE.
Feeling thirsty or having dark-coloured urine can be early signs of dehydration, other symptoms may include dizziness, headache, tiredness, dry mouth and passing small amounts of urine infrequently (less than three or four times a day).
If you feel dizzy, faint, weak, confused or tired during fasting, even after resting, then you should break your fast with a sweet drink, to replace lost sugar and fluids, and a salty snack, to replace lost salt, or an oral rehydration solution and contact your doctor.
It’s important to try to reduce the risk of dehydration; stay cool in the shade, don’t over-exert yourself, and try to drink plenty of fluids once you have broken your fast and at ‘suhoor’.
Remember that during pregnancy, the amount of fluid you need may increase by an extra one or two glasses a day.
On top of drinking lots of fluids, including foods which have a high-water content such as fruits, vegetables, soups, stews and porridge in your ‘suhoor’ and ‘iftar’ meals may also help to keep you hydrated.
It is also a good idea to avoid consuming too many salty foods, especially first thing in the morning, as this may make you feel even more thirsty.
Pre Natal Supplements
Make sure you are still taking your supplements (folic acid and vitamin D) and eating a healthy balanced diet during Ramadan so that you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need.
Also try to eat foods which release energy slowly (low glycemic index foods) such as wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread, oat and bran-based cereals, beans and unsalted nuts, especially at suhoor.
Exercise During Fasting For Pre Natal Women In Abu Dhabi & Dubai
As a Female Personal Trainer with many female clients here in the UAE I suggest that if you are pregnant and wish to fast and exercise during Ramadan you take the following precautions:
First week listen to your body and check which time of the day you fell more energized to exercise, if is early morning, a few hours after your last meal or 1 or 2 hours before Iftar time, then if you fell thirsty or hungry after exercise it will be almost time to break the fasting.
Keep in mind all the time that your health and baby’s health is the most important thing.
According to Islam, pregnant women are allowed to quit fasting during Ramadan.
“She can make up for the missed fasts later, when she is healthy.”