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Implications of Ramadan intermittent fasting on maternal and fetal health and nutritional status: A review


Fasting and caloric restriction during pregnancy had been reported to impose negative effects on maternal health and pregnancy outcomes. Some research suggests that maternal fasting increases the potential for developing irreversible mental and physical disabilities in children. Even excused, Muslim pregnant women had been accustomed to fast during the ninth lunar month of Ramadan. This comprehensive review aimed at addressing the current evidence pertaining to the effect of Ramadan Intermittent Fasting (RIF) practiced by Muslims pregnant women on maternal and fetal health along with pregnancy outcomes. Current research suggests that maternal fasting during Ramadan has no deleterious impacts on the birth weight or biochemical and biophysical parameters of babies. There is a limited long term research that addressed the effects of RIF on the health of fetuses that were in utero. Milk macro composition was not found to be affected profoundly upon RIF, with significant changes in some micronutrients were reported. Additionally, RIF seems to affect some macronutrients and most micronutrient intakes; therefore, it would be prudent for pregnant and lactating women to utilize the excuse for not fasting during Ramadan. Further research is needed to address the long term consequences of maternal RIF on mother and child health later in life.