Can You Do Intermittent Fasting While Pregnant

Can increase risk for vitamin/nutritional deficiencies

It’s extremely challenging to get all of the nutrition you require in a day when you’re intermittent fasting because you have to limit when you eat to a certain window of time (typically a small window). This is particularly true for pregnant women, who need a lot of nutrition to maintain both their health and the health of the unborn child.

Ghazal asserts that the focus during pregnancy should be on eating healthily and getting enough nutrition to support both the mother and the developing fetus. According to her, “intermittent fasting can possibly increase the risk of nutritional or vitamin deficiencies that can affect fetal development or even increase your risk of pregnancy complications.”

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you should be adding about 300 calories a day to your diet for a healthy pregnancy. Intermittent fasting can prevent you from getting your total requirement of daily calories and make it more difficult to consume the extra 300 calories you need per day.

If I practiced intermittent fasting before pregnancy, should I just stop and return to a normal eating schedule?

Yes, you want to eat more frequently and avoid going for extended periods of time without food. Here’s why: Frequent eating maintains stable blood sugar and blood pressure in both you and the baby. “It may be smart to widen your window of eating in order to be able to consume a more balanced diet in order to promote more [weight] maintenance and less weight loss,” says Morgan.

Let’s get right to it: Is intermittent fasting ever safe for pregnant women?

Generally, fasting isn’t recommended for pregnant women. While research shows that intermittent fasting can benefit metabolism, lead to weight loss, and may potentially reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it can actually lower a pregnant woman’s blood sugar too much. “Low blood sugar in combination with the natural drop in blood pressure in pregnant women could lead to lightheadedness and fainting,” says Dr. Wu.

An older study that focused on religious intermittent fasting in pregnant women (with healthy pregnancies) found that fetal movement was lower when mothers were fasting. This makes sense, because her glucose levels would be low, and fetal movement is tied to how much glucose (aka an energy source for the bod) the fetus is able to get from the mother. Thats why most religious fasting gives an exemption to pregnant women, Dr. Wu adds.

Therefore, pregnant women should avoid strict fasting (more on that later). However, a 12-hour maximum overnight fast may be the only type of fasting that is safe for women who aren’t too far along in their pregnancies. However, Morgan explains that even observing a 12-hour fast depends on the trimester.

It’s obviously crucial to concentrate on getting enough essential prenatal nutrients during the first trimester, but your body might not actually require that many extra calories. “Intermittent fasting may not be appropriate at all in the third trimester and the later stages of the second trimester,” says Morgan. “Many women will require an additional evening snack before going to sleep or need to eat quickly upon waking.”

She continues, “Restricting your eating may not be the right solution because you need to make sure that you are getting enough of the essential nutrients as well as calories (many pregnant women are advised to add about 300 extra calories a day), especially if you start out your pregnancy underweight or even at normal weight.”

Should a Woman Who is Pregnant or Breastfeeding do Intermittent Fasting?

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