Fasting while Pregnant

 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 😀 )

Difficult Pregnancy?

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!

Stay hydrated!

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.

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16 Responses to Fasting while Pregnant

  1. Pingback: Fasting while Nursing « Umm Ibraheem

  2. first time mother with baby in womb says:

    As salam alaikum ukhti,

    i was searching for help cos its not the night of the first day of ramadhan, im 27 weeks- 7 months pregnant. i went to the dr here where im visiting, the dr is christian, she said i shouldnt fast. i did have to fast from 8pm till 10am for a sugar blood test and when i stopped fasting from that i was shaking all over my body and also the dr said while i was fasting my bloodpressure was low. Im not planning on fasting as the dr said dont fast, its risky but not my husband is saying i should fast, then he says i know myself better, then look at it in reality.. im a huge mess right now…i got so upset that ive voited all over my clothes and floor and im soo confussed, i dnt want to be a sinner and i dont want to harm my child.

    Do u know of us not being allowed to base our not fasting on the advice of the non muslim dr ? what do u think i should do. I dnt have gestational diabetes but prone to low blood pressure even before pregnancy, fasting in the past years prior to marriage have been hard due to the low bp and im freaking out… if u could emal me back ur advice n let me know id be so grtful.

    ramadhan kareem 2009/1430

    • ummibraheem says:

      Wa ‘alaykum as salaam wa rahmatullah dear sister,

      Ramadan kareem to you as well! Check your email, I just replied to you 🙂

      And if any other sisters have advice to share here, they are most welcome 🙂

  3. fatima zahra says:

    i am nearly 5 months pregnant and today is the first day of ramadan i feel so energetic and not the least bit hungry. usually i get hungry during ramadan but today has been a beautiful day iv kept my self busy and drank alot of water before going to bed last night.

  4. Um Amir says:

    As salam alaikum
    I am a muslima who is pregnant now during Ramadan. I am also an MD and I too have been struggling with this question…should I fast? I am in my first trimester and so far have decided not to fast because for me, just the thought of not eating and drinking for so many hours makes me concerned about depriving the baby at a critical stage of development. For one thing, we know that fluid requirements increase during pregnancy and it is very important to maintain fluid balance. It may be possible to make it up during iftar and suhur, but how will one know if it is enough? There is too little information out there to guide us from a medical standpoint. The body is usually the best guide…when a pregnant woman is thirsty, as a doctor I would say she needs to drink. During Ramadan, part of our discipline is to overcome these physical signs. This poses a very difficult dilemma.
    Personally I am concerned about fasting during the1st trimester when InShaAllah the baby is growing fast and all of the organs are developing. Also the woman’s body and needs are changing rapidly. I would also be concerned during the later part of pregnancy when premature labor may result from dehydration or stress. I would also be concerned about a woman in any stage of pregnancy who is working, in a hot climate or fasting long days without an ability to rest or take naps. Lastly, I would not advise fasting during nursing, especially during the first year of the baby’s life, as nursing is the best thing you can do to protect your baby and it may be severely jeopardized by the fast.
    It is unfortunate that with millions and millions of “case studies” around the world, such little focus or attention has been payed to this topic in the medical community. The lack of literature is sad.
    So for myself, I just don’t feel that there is enough solid evidence to say one way or the other whether fasting is safe. We know of all of the benefits of fasting for ourselves, but we are just not sure of benefit (or harm) to the fetus. Each woman should listen to their bodies and to their intuition. No one should do anything they feel could harm their growing baby. And I believe that one should be forgiving and patient of oneself, and allow for breaking the fast in case of any signs or symptoms like light-headedness, dizziness or drowsiness, or very concentrated or dark urine.
    Allah subhana wa ta’ala has allowed exceptions with good reasons. It is as important that we consider this in our decision-making as well as considering the benefits the fast brings.

    • ummibraheem says:

      jazakAllah khayr for sharing, sister.

      You said that there isn’t evidence if fasting is safe or not, but don’t you feel that’s a little bit harsh? Because for 100s of years, Muslimahs have fasted and gave birth to healthy babies mashaAllah. Don’t you agree that you should try to fast at least? Some sisters have absolutely no problem.

      As for nursing, I am fasting alhamdulillah while nursing my 9 month old, and subhaanAllah, she has milk even an hour before iftaar! 🙂

      • Ummmuhammad says:

        The prophet (s) also said that the traveler and sick and pregnant woman are exempt from fasting. So that May have been largely practiced during that time.
        I listened to Yasir Qadhi’s lecture and find it demeaning that a “traveler” in an air conditioned plane for 1.5 hours is deduced to be exempt but a pregnant woman, for which there is evidence she does not have to and clearly is much more difficult than said traveler, is not.
        Also, you shouldn’t put your personal experiences as a proof of evidence.

      • ummibraheem says:

        Wa ‘alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah, Hmm I have never heard that the pregnant woman is *exempt* from fasting. Can you explain what you mean by that?

        I don’t find it demeaning at all that a traveller is exempt. This is from the sunnah that a traveller is exempt. A traveller is also allowed to shorten their prayers. You are conflating two things.

        I didn’t share my personal experiences as evidence for an Islamic ruling. I was sharing personal experience as evidence that it’s *possible.* The *default* is not that a pregnant/nursing woman should not fast. Of course it’s allowed not to fast if you are unable to or find it difficult. Allah wants ease for us.

  5. Kim says:

    I am going through this issue this Ramadan. I am 7 months pregnant and have a 2 year old and will return full time to work Sept. 1st. I am very nervous to fast because I went into preterm labor with my son because of dehydration…and that was in March! This heat is crazy and I don’t think it could be possible to recieve enough hydration to last on a 15 hour fast. I am so nervous to even try. I know I can handle it, but can the baby? I had no idea with my son that I was in preterm labor…it just came on like that. I have 2 weeks to decide…

    • ummibraheem says:

      Ramadaan is already almost here again!

      Sorry to hear about your dilemma 😦 I JUST had a newborn, so it’s a no brainer for me 🙂 I just need to figure out what to do this Ramadan since I won’t be fasting. May Allah help you make a good decision and preserve your family’s heath and imaan.

  6. nousha says:

    Thanks a lot for gathering these reassuring info. I read lots of articles, and asked my doctor, and both confirmed that if I felt up to it, then I should go ahead, yet on the other side, some women warn me about my baby’s health…
    Well, I pray that God will give me the strength to continue, so far the first few hours of fasting and feeling good 🙂
    Thanks again for sharing ur experience.

  7. Lameez says:

    Salaam sisters

    Im now 22 weeks pregnant and going onto my 9th day of fasting algamdulielah. I didnt think that i could make it this far but i dont feel im fasting any harder than what i was fasting the year before.
    I seem to have so much more energy and just want to be in the kitchen all the time or cleaning the house or just doing something that will keep me bussy.
    I’ve had 6 miscarriages before and even though with this pregnancy i had a bleeding pregnancy in the first 3months everything has gone smooth sailing ever since.This is my first healthy pregnancy after 8years of trying. To be honest i wasnt sure whether i should be fasting or not, but then i told myself that only Allah knows best and if it wasnt right for me to fast then Allah would have already showed me the signs. I dont feel guilty or that im causing any harm to the baby because “she” is moving all the time, which to me is a good sign and and when i went for a check-up yesterday i was told the the baby has a very good heart beat. I didnt tell the dr that i was fasting because i know that a non-muslim dr would tell me i shouldnt be fasting.

    Everyday i make dua for a better day than the day before and try to listen or recite Sura Maryam.

    Only you will know your body and will feel whether its best to fast or not….i put my trust in Allah..

  8. innayah says:

    Sh. Yasir qadhi; im sorry but you saying to just express milk after iftar and feed the baby that throughout the day, I have two questions for you… As Muslims are we not supposed to practice what the prophet pbuh taught; he would not have told nursing mothers to do anything of the sort, as it would not have been possible back then. And number 2 do you realise expressing milk as the only way to feed will make a woman very ill and will mess up her milk production as a whole. Allah has created women so that naturally her body provides the correct amount of milk at pretty much the correct times of the day ( when babies hungry and due a feed), if a woman was to express after iftar- her body would assume that the baby only feeds at night, she would not be able to nurse by the end of ramadaan at all.

    • ummibraheem says:

      I should do a post on the manners which to address others. Please be nicer in your critiques and questions (I realize your words weren’t directed at me…). BarakAllahu Feeki.

      As for expressing milk; I remember hearing a story from the hadith which mentioned expressing milk. Expressing milk didn’t come since the invention of breast pumps–it’s been around much longer. As a matter of fact, my mother has mentioned to me that they used to express and dump the colustrum that comes intially back home because they believed it to be “bad milk.”

      Having said that, I do see your point about it ruining milk production. wAllahu ‘Alam, it’s not a course of action I would try. I don’t know about it making a sister ill, though. Working mothers express all day at work and then store it at home for future use (the next day while they’re at work).

      But nursing and fasting is possible. I have friends who have no problem at all doing it–even with a little baby who isn’t on solids. Every woman is different! 🙂

  9. safas says:

    Assalamu alaikum..
    im 16week pregnant and its 5th day of ramdan. The first day of ramdan me n my hubby gng to check up and the dctr pushed me to break the fast and take scaning immediately because i loss 3kg weight than early check up. Dctr told me that not fasting and my hubby agreed that. But i really want to do fast.. so im doing fast. In the first day im too tired and have hands pain. Next day i have stomachache. And hour before ifthar im too tired. I dont know what to do. But i really want to do fast. But im very tensed to thinking about my unborn child. But this article helped me to realize if i do fast i also ok.

    • ummibraheem says:

      No sister, you did not understand the article 😦 if your health or the baby’s health is at risk you are NOT allowed to fast. As a matter of fact, fasting would be a sin because it woulf be considered intentionally harming yourself and/or the baby. Please do NOT fast, sister.

      I will read over the article again and try to see why you understood incorrectly.

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