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June 12, 2016

Pregnant, lactating women must avoid dehydration while fasting in Ramazan


June 12, 2016

Carelessness may lead to life-threatening conditions


The present weather conditions, the severe heat spells, have increased the chances of dehydration among pregnant and lactating women while opting for fasting without proper advice from qualified doctors particularly on diet plan.

The dehydration increases the chances of infections such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) in pregnant women that may lead to kidney problems and severe complications.

Dehydration in pregnant women may cause DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) in which blood starts clotting in the blood vessels and the clots may travel directly to heart causing sudden death so pregnant women while fasting should take sufficient quantity of water at the time of ‘Sehr’ and ‘Iftar’.

Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at Rawalpindi Medical College Dr Rizwana Chaudhry expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ on Saturday on what measures the pregnant and lactating women should take while opting for fasting in the holy month of Ramazan in the existing extreme hot weather.

It is important that almost all healthcare facilities including public and private healthcare facilities in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been receiving significant influx of pregnant women with complications after the severe heat spells in the region.

Every year in Ramazan, the healthcare facilities receive greater number of fasting pregnant women with complications including UTIs mainly because of improper diet at the time of ‘Sehr’ and ‘Iftar’, said Professor Rizwana. The number of cases of pregnant women having complaints of heart sinking while fasting is also increased.

She believes that complications occur in majority of the cases when pregnant and lactating women do not follow proper guidelines regarding diet or do not take advice from qualified doctors before going for fasting.

Medically, every pregnant woman or lactating mother can fast during Ramazan provided that she is not suffering from any disease or infection however, pregnant women must consult a qualified doctor before opting for fasting in Ramazan to avoid complications in future, she said.

In the existing weather conditions, pregnant and lactating women need extra care for diet while going for fasting as they become more vulnerable to dehydration and urinary tract infections, said Professor Rizwana.

She said the pregnant women having diseases like diabetes or renal infection should not go for fasting without prior advice from a doctor. It is observed that even medically fit pregnant or lactating women can have complications if they do not take proper food and fluids at the time of ‘Sehr’ and ‘Iftar’.

To a query, she suggested that a pregnant or lactating woman while fasting should take at least three glasses full of water at the time of ‘Sehr’ to avoid dehydration. Likewise, she should take plenty of fluids at the time of ‘Iftar’ and after, before going to bed.

In the first trimester (the first three months of pregnancy), mothers face problems of nausea and vomiting and also they cannot take plenty of food and fluids, which is necessary for fasting. Women in the first trimester -- if having complaints of vomiting and nausea -- could not fast but if they are not feeling too much nausea and can take sufficient diet, they may fast, she said.

Professor Rizwana said a woman in the second or third trimester might fast if she can take proper food and fluids. A pregnant woman needs at least three litres of water daily and if she can have that along with sufficient food, she may fast, she said.

She added that if a woman cannot take sufficient quantity of food and fluids at the time of ‘Sehr’ because of being incapable of taking big meal at one time, she should quit fasting during pregnancy.

It is important that during pregnancy or lactation, a woman needs high protein food including A class proteins found in fish, meat and chicken and B class proteins found in pulses and eggs and while fasting, the pregnant women should eat like foods. However, a pregnant woman who is overweight should strictly avoid fats and carbohydrates as being overweight causes complications at the time of birth of the baby, said Dr. Rizwana.

She explained that in case a pregnant woman is not having adequate food and fluids at the time of ‘Sehr’ and ‘Iftar’ while fasting, her baby (foetus) might face severe growth retardation.

Initially the foetus growth might go normal but with the passage of time, it might decline so pregnant mothers also need consultation with a qualified doctor while going for fasting, she said.

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