Pregnant women told not to fast during holy Ramadan
Published: 12th Aug 2010 09:27:00
Pregnant women who fast during Ramadan could be putting the health of their unborn baby at risk, according to a new study.
Fasting during the month is one of the five pillars of Islam, although pregnant women are exempt if it poses a risk to their health.
However, some Muslim women still choose to fast, despite the health implications.
Aanisa Butt, 32, fasted during both of her pregnancies.
''I wouldn't fast everyday, I would do one day of fasting followed by a day of rest. Doing alternate days helped me keep my energy levels up,'' she said.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time when Muslims across the world fast from dawn until sunset.
''When Ramadan falls in the summer, it can be really difficult to stay without food and water the whole day and if you're pregnant it is even more hard,'' said Aanisa.
''But I wasn't worried about my health or my baby's. I think Allah gives you strength and he protects your unborn child.''
I think Allah gives you strength and he protects your unborn child.”
Although Aanisa gave birth to two healthy sons, if women fast for long hours during their pregnancy it can result in problems for their unborn child.
A study by scientists in the United States, based on census data from the US, Iraq and Uganda, found that pregnant women who fast are likely to have smaller babies who are more prone to learning disabilities in adulthood.
The researchers from Columbia University found that this trend was most marked if mothers-to-be fasted early on in their pregnancy and during the summer when longer days meant they went more hours without food.
Religious leaders say pregnant women shouldn't attempt to fast as it puts the health of their unborn baby at risk.
Imam Madani Abdur Rahman, from London, says Islam does give pregnant women options.
''We have to assess the situation, if the doctor says fasting could cause problems for the mother or her baby, then women should not fast. Health must always come first," he added.
Pregnant women who request an exemption from fasting are expected to make up the days they have missed after the baby is born.
Nuala Close is a nurse at Barts and London Hospital. She says many women do not make use of this provision.
''If women are exempt from fasting they have to make it up at another time, like once they've finished breastfeeding or in the lighter hours.
''But what we are actually finding is that pregnant patients don't actually like to do this and so often they will try to fast during Ramadan as normal.''
For Aanisa, having to make up the days later was one of the main reasons she chose to fast in her pregnancy.
''I find it really difficult to make up the time afterwards especially because no one else in the family is fasting. So I try to do as many as I can during the month,'' she said.
Scholars say if pregnant women cannot fast after Ramadan for any reason, then they can give money to charity instead.
However, since fasting during the month is seen as an integral part of Muslim culture, many women may feel guilty if they do not observe Ramadan.
Health professionals warn that pregnant women should seek advice if they decide to fast.
''Where Ramadan now falls in August, that is a long time of daylight hours where people will be fasting, that will have a detrimental effect on pregnant women, said Ms Close.
''Pregnant women should discus this with their midwife because it can be very dangerous, not just for the women but also for the unborn child.''
Asian Network Reports broadcasts weekdays at 1230 and 1800 BST or listen again on the BBC iPlayer.
At 10:55:56 in SportDay four report to follow.
At 10:54:27 in EnglandAbout 20,000 people saw Grandmother giant's first day asleep in Liverpool ahead of a World War One event.
At 10:54:12 in WalesPlans to build a wood-burning incinerator close to the Dee Estuary have been approved, despite strong objections from some local people.
At 10:48:37 in EnglandA five-year-old boy has been left with a broken leg after a hit-and-run in Blackburn.
At 10:46:56 in SportDouble Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah has withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after failing to recover from a recent illness.
At 10:46:18 in EnglandThe killing of a Birmingham mother in 2012 "was potentially preventable", according to a review which exposed a number of agency failings.
At 10:44:15 in SportCardiff Blues have confirmed the signing of Wales-qualified Gareth Anscombe from Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand on a "long-term deal".
At 10:42:53 in ScotlandScottish singer Amy MacDonald is the latest act to be added to the line-up for the 2014 Ryder Cup Gala Concert.
At 10:42:20 in HeadlinesAlgeria's national airline, Air Algerie, says it has lost contact with one of its planes flying from Burkina Faso.
At 10:41:30 in SportBadminton Mixed Doubles duo Martin Campbell and Jillie Cooper brought Scotland their first match win in a competition at Glasgow 2014.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Pregnant women told not to fast during holy Ramadan [Online] (Updated 12th Aug 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/81327/Pregnant-women-told-not-to-fast-during-holy-Ramadan [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
It's 16 years since the movie Shakespeare in Love took seven Oscars. The process of adapting the screenplay for the stage has been a long one but now the deep pockets of Disney have brought the play to the West End.
Danske Bank in Northern Ireland made a pre-tax profit of £45m in the first six months of 2014, compared to a £1m loss in the same period last year.
Plans to build a wood-burning incinerator close to the Dee Estuary have been approved, despite strong objections from some local people.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Three former ministers have been given knighthoods, while veteran Ken Clarke has been made a Companion of Honour.
Day four report to follow.