Pregnancy diet and nutrition
You are looking at: Home : Blogs : Pregnancy diet and nutrition

Fasting for Ramadan during pregnancy affects baby

Muslim mums-to-be warned that religious fasting during Ramadan could be harmful to their unborn babies

Posted: 25 June 2010
by Kimberley Smith

US scientists have discovered that mums who fasted for the Muslim festival of Ramadan while pregnant are more likely to have smaller babies with increased chances of physical or mental disability.

These mums were also found to be 10% less likely to give birth to boys and this trend increased if the fasting was done in the early stages of pregnancy. This could be related to the different ways male and female babies cope with stress in the womb.

“We generally find the largest effects on adults when Ramadan falls early in pregnancy,” said Douglas Almond of Columbia University who co-wrote the report.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and central to many Muslim women’s way of life. Some may fear losing connection with their communities or feelings of guilt if mums-to-be do not observe the traditional fasting during Ramadan.

The importance of maternal nutrition to a growing baby is well known so if you are worried how fasting will affect your baby this Ramadan speak to your GP  

Previous article
Breath tests for all pregnant women, says NICE
Next article
Foetus doesn’t feel pain before 24 weeks

ramadan, muslim mums-to-be, fasting in pregnancy, pregnant during ramadan

Discuss this story

But it is not obligatory for muslim women to fast if they are afraid for their baby's health of for them selves during pregnancy.Fasting is for Allah but not community or people around.It is nothing to do with Islam,since there are a lot of ways to compensate your missed fasting during pregnancy(you can fast the missed days later or feed 1 poor person per missed day).
Allah gives us different ways always.Unfortunately some women like to harm themselves and their babies without taking other options what are there for them.

Posted: 06/08/2010 at 05:32

This year, I was at beginning of my 2nd trimester when Ramadan began. If you are able to fast then you should. I decided to try fasting And I was fine as long as I took it easy and ate a large meal after sunset and before dawn.
I am pregnant with twins, and my last scan (at seven months) showed that they are healthy as well as slightly above average size.

I researched in general, but did not ask my own medical providers as I knew that I was okay fasting.

I was previously pregnant ( with a single baby) during Ramadan 5 years ago, but I was in my 1st trimester and extremely nauseous. again, I fasted some days, but found that my nausea increased and so I did not fast the rest. I did get some remarks from my mother in law about how she fasted through all of her pregnancies, but I know my own condition better than anyone else, and that I was allowed to miss those fasts by God's permission, the One who I would/ would not be fasting for.

At the end of the day, every person and every pregnancy is different - it is interesting to read the article, but I don't think you can say that fasting is dangerous in pregnancy In general.

Posted: 16/11/2011 at 13:26

The results of the study aren't reliable nor do the authors say they can conclusively state that there are harmful effects. See the appendix on this site:

Posted: 26/07/2013 at 13:01

Talkback: Fasting for Ramadan during pregnancy affects baby

First Name:
Last Name:
Security Image:
Enter the code shown:

I agree to the site's Terms and Conditions & Code of Conduct:

Sign me up!
Share your photos with other ThinkBaby mum...
What is the MadeForMums network?

Tell me about...
Practical Parenting