Alhamdulillah this Ramadan I am expecting my second baby. I am in my third trimester, and as with Ibraheem, I faced the very frustrating dilemma: should I fast? The first thought that would come to mind is, “Just ask your doctor.” My doctor being non-muslim, I just assume she’s going to say no, so I don’t bother.
With my first pregnancy, my husband insisted that I not fast. He is the son of a doctor….so that, coupled with my due date being just around Eid time, I did not fast the entire Ramadan. Qadr Allahu ma sha fa’aal.
This Ramadan, with 40 make-up fasts piling on me, I REALLY didn’t want to miss another month of fasting and have that weight on my shoulders. I took the advice of many sisters and tried it out – and alhamdulillah – it’s been great so far!
I found this answer about fasting while pregnant/nursing on Muslimmatters:
Question: If a sister is pregnant during Ramadan and unable to fast and then by the time the next Ramadan comes she is nursing, how is she to make up her fast? What about sisters who have pregnancies close together and miss Ramadan for a few years in a row? Does she have to make all those years up or is there an expiation like feeding a poor person, and is it different if it is just one pregnancy or is it a different ruling if it is continuous years that are missed?
Sh. Yasir Qadhi: Realize first that just because a sister is pregnant or nursing, it does not automatically exempt her from the fast. Rather, she should examine her situation and if fasting makes life very difficult for her or is harmful to the child. A nursing mother could express milk after iftar and then use that for the next day. Or if the child is older and can take other food, she really should examine such an option. If she can’t fast, some scholars say she only needs to feed a poor person, but the majority oppose that opinion and say if a woman does not fast, her position resembles someone who can’t fast because they are sick or traveling, who make up fasting days later. Pregnancy or nursing is a temporary problem. However, make-up fasts don’t have to be done continuously. Even if a woman didn’t fast for 4 or 6 years, she has to make it up but not continuously and no expiation at all necessary. This is the strongest position.
Fasting while pregnant is MUCH easier than fasting while nursing. When I was nursing Ibraheem, he was maybe 11 months? Almost a year. That means he had been introduced to solids for some time, of course, but it was still VERY difficult for me to fast. For me (and I’d imagine most sisters), skipping a single meal means less milk prodcution. Actually, being hungry for longer than an hour would mean no milk. So unless your baby is onto solids, I would recommend being cautious about fasting the entire Ramadan while nursing.
While you’re pregnant – there are a few things I would consider:
What trimester are you in?
If it’s your first, it’s probably going to be ok. From what I’ve heard and experienced myself, the worse nausea is in the first trimester. You don’t really want to eat anything. Although, this is also the trimester when you feel weak the most and have the least energy. Taking extra iron along with your vitamins in the morning is also a good idea.
The second trimester, for me, is the hardest, because that’s when I put on the most weight. I also got my energy back (relief from all that morning sickness….), so that would probably make things easier. But every woman knows her own health better than anyone 🙂 Just make sure to eat well and full at suhur and iftaar.
The third trimester may sound as if it’s the hardest – but alhamdulillah it’s been working out great so far! The only thing I’ve been worried about in the least is water intake. I just make sure to drink 4 glasses in the morning and then as many as I can guzzle at night.
Working, At home, On your feet?
Obviously a girl’s lifeestlye would affect whether or not it would be a good idea for her to fast. For me, alhamdulillah, I have a lot of help at home. My husband makes his schedule very flexible for me to take me to get groceries or any other chores that require a lot of walking. Otherwise, I’m at home with my toddler all day (some would argue that is more strenuous than any chore 😀 )
SubhaanAllah no problems so far in either pregnancy for me. If you’re having some sort of pregnancy complications or an at-risk pregnancy…by all means, do not fast!
Everyone knows that a pregnant woman spends a good chunk of her day in the bathroom, emptying her bladder. Eck. So make sure to stay very well hydrated! Like I mentioned before, get up extra early for suhur and drink as much water as you can while preparing the food. Set a quota for yourself – a certain amount that you have to finish every morning. You’re more likely to drink more this way. Also, once you have iftaar, keep a water bottle by you at all times. If you go to the masjid, slip a bottle in your purse.
Eat your vitamins
Most women do not have to be told this, but apparently I do…. I also take extra iron, which is probably a good idea to take a few times a week even if you’re not anemic.
Give Yourself a Break
You’re pregnant, so don’t push yourself. Any physical strain you take may affect the baby. I know there are some sisters (hehe also relatives of mine…) that just don’t know when to stop and take a break. A 10 minute nap can do wonders. Rest as much as you can.
Don’t stress too much about fasting while pregnant – it’s really pretty easy! (Much easier compared to fasting while nursing, if your baby lapped up milk like my Ibraheem did!) And definitely don’t assume it can’t be done. I think first time moms are worried about their baby’s health AND their husbands probably pressure them to not fast “for the baby’s health.”
In the end, you know your health better than anyone. Give it a try. If you can fast, alhamdulillah. If not, Allah subhaana wa ta’aala has allowed you to make them up later for the sake of your health. May Allah make it easy on all of the pregnant moms.
To all the mommies out there – pregnant and non pregnant – remember to make loads of du’aa` for your children this month. And please remember the rest of the Muslim children and the Muslimeen in your prayers as well.
Also see Part 2.