Gestational diabetes and Ramadan: what you should know?

On 30 April 2020 by Droobi

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You may wonder, is it safe for a women diagnosed with gestational diabetes to fast? 

To begin with, is it safe to fast during pregnancy in the first place?

 

In fact, fasting increases the risk of dehydration, especially when the weather is hot. This makes the mother more prone to urinary tract infection and may reduce the amount of fluid surrounding the fetus and lead to preterm birth.

Many pregnant women may be able to safely fast, depending on the overall health of the mother, the stage of pregnancy and the time of year Ramadan occurs.

 

Concerning women with gestational diabetes, the risk of pregnancy complications on them and their babies is very high thus they are strongly advised not to fast as it puts them in an additional risk of hypoglycemia during fasting and hyperglycemia after breaking the fast.

 

Now if pregnant women insisted on fasting, they should at least take the right precautions:

 

  • Take rest frequently throughout the day

  • Have balanced meals with a variety of food from all food groups

  • Keep taking the recommended supplements (folic acid and other…)

  • Consume up to three liters of water between iftar and suhoor

  • Avoid consuming foods high in salt and sugar

  • Eat a healthy snack before bedtime

  • Have balanced healthy Suhoor

  • Have 2 to 3 servings of fresh fruit daily instead of sweets and juices

  • Perform light physical activity after iftar.

  • Break their fast immediately if they feel symptoms of hypoglycemia or blood glucose <90 mg /dl) and or they face signs of dehydration like becoming very thirsty, having dry mouth, having dark-colored urine, feeling dizzy, faint, weak, confused or tired...

  • Test their blood sugars more frequently and adjust diabetes treatment as advised by their healthcare providers.

 

Also note that fasting pregnant women should also contact their doctor and consider stopping fasting if:

  • their baby is not moving around or kicking as much

  • they notice contraction-like pains

  • they are not putting on enough weight or are losing weight

 

Finally, it is of high importance for pregnant women to counsel with their doctor and health educator before Ramadan in order to have a health check, identify the risk of any potential complications when fasting , modify medication dosage and timing, understand dietary requirements and the importance of self-monitoring blood glucose.

 

KEY take away:

- Pregnant woman with gestational diabetes should avoid fasting in order to protect herself and her unborn baby from unwanted complications.

- If pregnant woman wants to fast, she should carefully take the above mentioned precautions and consult her doctor and health educator on a regular basis.