Ramadan fasting during pregnancy: characteristics and outcomes

Kariman Ghazal, Janoub Khazaal, Janoub Khazaal, Rabih Chahine, Rabih Chahine, Charlotte Hajjar, Charlotte Hajjar, Jihad El Hasan, Jihad El Hasan, Liliane Naser, Liliane Naser, Eva Koulaymi, Eva Koulaymi, Georges Yared, Georges Yared


Background: The primary aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of pregnant women who fast during Ramadan. The secondary outcome was their beliefs and motivations regarding fasting during Ramadan in addition to the consequences of fasting on maternal and neonatal outcome.

Methods: A retrospective review of pregnant patients aged between 18-45 years who presented for antenatal care in the private clinic in Beirut, Lebanon during or after the month of Ramadan between 2010 and 2019 was performed.

Results: A total of 502 pregnant patients were included in the study, of which 426 (84.9%) fasted during Ramadan and 76 (15.1%) did not fast at all. Of those who fasted, 148 (34.7%) fasted between 1 and 15 days while 278 (65.3%) fasted more than 15 days. Multiparous and non-Lebanese women had significantly higher rate of fasting compared to primiparous and Lebanese women. Adherence to fasting was associated with the spiritual environment that accompanies the month of Ramadan while non-adherence was mainly related to the fear from adverse effects on the mother and fetus. Fasting was not significantly associated with maternal complications or decreased neonatal birth weight.

Conclusions: The present study showed that Ramadan fasting is important to pregnant Muslim women. This was manifested by the relatively high rate of fasting even in summer and spring seasons. Understanding the beliefs and motivations of pregnant women would provide valuable insight to physicians to appropriately advise these women without compromising the maternal or fetal well-being.


Ramadan, Pregnancy fast, Nutrition, Birth weight

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