Pregnancy and breastfeeding during Ramadan

Last Saturday saw the beginning of the month of Ramadan, which Muslim people all over the world will be celebrating. Find out what it means for you if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

At the end of the month there is a big celebration called Eid ul-Fitr. Muslims spend time with their family, eat a meal during the daytime and give money to charity.

The month of Ramadan is the holiest time of the year in Islam. During the month, one of the ways that Muslims show their faith is by fasting – not eating or drinking – from sunrise to sunset.

So during Ramadan, Muslims will get up before dawn to eat a meal, then won’t eat or drink anything again until after sunset.

Most Muslim people over the age of 14 will fast, but if this is your first Ramadan if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may have questions.

Should you fast if you're pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are not expected to fast, although you can if you wish.

Aishah Safdar

NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor Aishah Safdar says: “In Islam, health always comes first. If for any reason it is more harmful to fast then you are exempt.

“Whilst many Muslims of all ages choose to fast there is no compulsion and in the case of women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding it is important they ensure that both their own health and wellbeing of their baby is not compromised in any way.

“During the summer months the fasting period can be quite long compared to the winter months and this can be an important factor to take into consideration when making any decision.

“It might be useful to seek professional advice before you decide.”

More info

You might like to take a look at our article on observing Ramadan if you’re pregnant and breastfeeding.

There’s lots more info on this Ramadan health factsheet from the British Islamic Medical Council.