Karwa Chauth is almost here (October 13) and it is time for all married women to keep a day’s long fast for their husband’s wellness and long life. While all women deck up to celebrate this day and enjoy the festivities to the fullest, the main ritual of the day has a lot to do with not eating or drinking anything till the Puja. While it can be managed by most women, it could be a problem for pregnant women. They are not advised to observe the fast as they might feel a lot of changes in their body and face health issues.
To understand the side effects of fasting on pregnant women, Health Shots reached out to Dr. Asha Hiremath, Consultant – Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Motherhood Hospital, Indiranagar, Bengaluru. Here’s what she has to say.
Is Karwa Chauth fast safe for pregnant women?
Pregnancy can lead to several changes in the body such as weight gain, and other alterations in your body chemistry and function. “Women need plenty of water and balanced nutrition for themselves and their baby during pregnancy, that is why fasting when pregnant is not recommended,” says Dr Hiremath.
However, many women still observe the fast during these festivities, including Karwa Chauth. Dr Hiremath advises pregnant women to inform the doctor about your decision and take their advice on how to go about it. “Some women can have complications like gestational diabetes during pregnancy and fasting through that is not advisable, as it can make it difficult to maintain your blood sugar levels. It is always better to get yourself assessed and let your doctor determine whether you can fast or not,” she adds.
Fasting tips for pregnant women on Karwa Chauth
While Dr Hiremath recommends not to fast on this day. However, if you decide to fast follow these certain tips to avoid complications:
- Plenty of rest is essential as you will have less energy when fasting
- Extra care should be taken if you’re fasting during the last three months of pregnancy. Usually, 200 extra calories are required during this time
- Take your folic acid and vitamin D supplements as these are quite essential if you feel that something is amiss contact your doctor at the earliest
What to eat and avoid to break your fast?
Here are some tips approved by Dr Hiremath on what to eat when you break your fast:
- A balanced pregnancy diet is absolutely essential. You can choose from a healthy range of foods that are available but break your fast with liquids like fruit juice or any healthy drink.
- Foods are rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium.
- Slow-release energy foods such as whole wheat pasta, oat or bran-based cereals, beans and pulses, unsalted nuts, and wholemeal bread.
- Protein-rich foods like cottage cheese, beans, and lentils. These help in keeping you filled for long
The expert also shares what pregnant women should not do while breaking the fast :
When you eat, try to avoid:
- Coffee or any items containing caffeine will make you feel more dehydrated
- Foods that are difficult to digest
- Heartburn causing acidic and oily foods
- Sugary items like chocolates/candies may give you an energy boost but are harmful and will not keep you going.
Look out for these fasting issues during pregnancy
- Watch out for signs of dehydration such as dark urine, dizziness or weakness, and headaches. Dehydration can be the cause of a UTI (Urinary Tract infection). During pregnancy, women are susceptible to UTIs
- Try to weigh yourself regularly at home and speak to your doctor if you are losing weight. Loss of weight is not advisable when pregnant as you need to maintain a healthy weight. It is always better to check with your specialist
- If you feel generally unwell or feel that something isn’t quite right, contact your doctor for guidance.