Can I fast during pregnancy

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August 2, 2023

Energy needs change across the course of pregnancy, with no increase in calories in the first trimester and slight (+340 kcal/day) and moderate (+452 kcal/day) increases in the second and third trimesters, respectively.To meet the higher nutrient requirements in pregnancy without exceeding caloric needs, pregnant individuals should choose foods that are nutrient-dense (ie, foods that contain high levels of important nutrients compared with the amount of calories, such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts/nut butters, unsweetened yogurt, fish, lean meat) and avoid foods that provide little nutritional value beyond calories: processed foods that are high in added sugars (eg, soda, sweet tea, sweets, desserts, flavored yogurt), added fats (eg, fried foods), and solid fats (eg, high-fat and processed meat).

Women may fast for various reasons some do it for religious reasons and some may practice it for weight loss.

Self-imposed dietary restraints, can be problematic if essential nutrients are left out of the diet or weight gain is inadequate.

Why fasting is not recommended during pregnancy?

In some cases, Intermittent fasting and prolonged daytime fasting during pregnancy are found to have permanent epigenetic alterations in fetal physiology that may have some adverse effects later in adult life.

It is recommended to avoid ketogenic diets or ketogenic fasting during pregnancy. A ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate diet consisting of high fat, moderate protein, and extremely low carbohydrate consumption. The ketogenic diet restricts the consumption of carbohydrates to 5 to 10 percent of energy needs which provides only 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Some reports have suggested that there are some adverse fetal effects of a ketogenic diet in human pregnancy such as fetal overgrowth, changes in brain structures, and changes in organ size.

However, additional studies are also important to determine the effects and extent of these factors on pregnancy .

Even if you decide to fast during pregnancy, there are certain things to be careful about before and during fasting:

Ensuring a healthy diet before initiating the fast.

Avoiding activities of extreme fatigue and weakness

Keeping yourself hydrated

Taking proper rest

Be watchful about nausea, vomiting, and other warning signs that cannot be ignored.

It’s quite obvious that not being able to hold a fast may affect you emotionally if it is religious or important to you but the health of your baby is what matters the most. So always decide wisely and whatever decision you take, always take your doctor’s advice before moving further.

You can also connect with Dr. Shweta Wazir for getting more useful insights on this.

Pregnancy care clinic in Gurgaon

Dr. Shweta Wazir runs a pregnancy care clinic in gurgaon where she offers comprehensive and holistic services to expectant mothers. She monitors the health of both the mother and the baby, conducts regular tests and scans, and provides guidance on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle. She also handles any complications or emergencies that may arise during pregnancy and delivery.

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