Can You Do Intermittent Fasting During Pregnancy?

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Can You Do Intermittent Fasting During Pregnancy

Can You Do Intermittent Fasting During Pregnancy? The Answer is No. There are various benefits to health offered by intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is referring to changing your eating habits and timings. Many people change their eating plan according to intermittent fasting and get good results for their health. Intermittent fasting is typically used for weight loss and controlling blood sugar levels. With the help of this eating method, the process of burning fat in the body gets synergized and leads to weight reduction. In some other cases, a nutritionist may suggest intermittent fasting for those patients who have digestion and stomach disorders. Having all these benefits, we will look at the effects of intermittent fasting on pregnancy.

In 9 months of pregnancy, the body gets many changes as it proceeds from day one till the end. Especially when the time of delivery comes near, the changes in the body become thick and fast. These changes in the body may vary from woman to woman. And for some women, these changes can cause discomfort in them. Especially weight gain is considered to be a problem, and women are very concerned about it because, most of the time, the weight gained can not be reversed. Here it is very pertinent to mention that women should know about these changes in the body during pregnancy so that they can decide easily about which change is worth worrying and, which is to consider a healthy change.

Intermittent Fasting

Before discussing the effects of intermittent fasting on pregnancy, we need to understand the meanings of intermittent fasting. In recent years intermittent fasting has gained popularity for losing weight, extending life with good health, and for improvement of metabolic activities of the body. There are many methods of doing this eating plan. Some of them are as follows

  • 5:2 method of intermittent fasting suggests having a normal meal for five days a week and taking 400 to 600 calories only for the rest of 2 days. Normal eating days are not considered in fasting, but the two days are to be considered as fasting in which a person is allowed 200 to 300 calories a day.
  • The 16:8 method of intermittent fasting gives you a plan of having fast for 14 to 16 hours a day, and the rest of the hour is allowed for eating. Usually, in this method a person is supposed to skip breakfast, and during fasting hours, juices, and other liquids with a low number of calories can be taken.
  • Alternate day fasting is another method that can be used for intermittent fasting. This person would have to fast for 24 hours and can take 500 calories during these fasting hours. After 24 hours of fasting, you can have a normal meal.
  • Skipping any meal of the day can be done to have intermittent fasting. In this method, you are free to set yourself for skipping any meal of the day. For instance, if you skipped breakfast in one day, then for the next day, you can skip lunch, and the following day you can skip dinner. Do not follow a sequential pattern of skipping meals; rather, do it spontaneously.
  • There is a method of warrior diet also for intermittent fasting. In this person can skip breakfast and lunch or can take fruits and uncooked vegetables and at night can have a big meal.
  • Another method similar to alternate day fasting is called eat stop eat method. In this method, a person will fast for 24 hours without having anything to eat and then a normal meal.

Now you have a better understanding of intermittent fasting. We will now try to find out if a pregnant woman can do intermittent fasting.

Pregnancy and Intermittent Fasting

Mostly, intermittent fasting during pregnancy is prohibited by doctors. However, there is a lack of sufficient information about its positive or negative effects on a pregnant woman. In the 1990s a research was done on certain women, and it has resulted that women who fasted during pregnancy have babies born with normal weight as compared to those women who did not fast. But it is believed by the researchers that although there is no effect on babies and on women but in future women who fasted would have serious health issues later in their life. So intermittent fasting during pregnancy should not be done.

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In recent years, another research is suggesting that intermittent fasting during pregnancy has nothing to do with the weight of the newly born baby. They are still of the view that more research work and years are needed to conclude this fact as the future life of women may be at risk.

During pregnancy months, women should have to consider their health and the health of their babies. They should try to have all those foods which can help them to produce and store fats required for breastfeeding. This will also allow the baby to gain a good weight when born. And for this goal, intermittent fasting is not a good plan to follow.

Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Pregnant Woman

During pregnancy, if you change your eating patterns, this will lead to health issues as, during pregnancy, the baby gets his food from the body of the mother. Some studies have shown different effects on women having intermittent fasting during pregnancy; some of them are listed down:

  • Intermittent fasting during pregnancy can disturb compositions of certain hormones, and women can experience hormonal changes in their bodies.
  • If any woman has her BMI level of 18.5 to 24.9, then it means that weight has been gained. The weight gain could be ranged from 30 to 35 pounds. This could only be achieved with a proper diet, and if a woman is doing intermittent fasting, then this could be a problem, and they should either start having a balanced diet with a sufficient amount of water or consult a doctor.
  • During intermittent fasting, the glucose level goes down in the body, and women having pregnancy may feel the results of this low level after a long time. And this will create a breathing problem and as effects of a low level of glucose experienced after a long time, so it would be difficult to be treated on time.
  • If you have intermittent fasting during pregnancy, then you can have problems with the low iron level in the blood, which is also called anemia. The risk of anemia is not only restricted to pregnant women, but it also can affect the baby. Having a low level of iron in the blood can also cause a low level of iron in the baby. The problem of anemia may arise in the first year of the child after birth. So, it is not suggested to have intermittent fasting during pregnancy.
  • The development of babies in the womb is totally dependent on the nutrition of the mother. If the baby is getting sufficient food, then the mother can feel movements frequently. Having intermittent fasting will lead to fewer movements of the baby. If you have intermittent fasting and you are not feeling at least ten movements in 30 minutes, then you have to reconsider intermittent fasting.
  • During pregnancy, the baby is getting all food from the mother's body; it is very necessary for her to have a proper meal. If you are doing intermittent fasting, then it would be exceedingly difficult for you to have balance and proper food to develop those facts which are required to store nutrition. The baby will use this stored nutrition.

Intermittent Fasting and Getting Pregnant

Stating all these side effects of intermittent fasting during pregnancy, there are still some other effects hidden from the researchers. These effects may change from one woman to another. However, intermittent fasting can help a woman to get pregnant. Studies show that although intermittent fasting is not suitable during pregnancy before pregnancy is suitable for a woman to get pregnant. Following are the benefits of intermittent fasting of getting pregnant

  • While intermittent fasting, the production of luteinizing hormone increases in the body. This hormone helps in the creation of ovules in the ovary. Moreover, this hormone also increases the fertility of women.
  • If you have weight more than the required one and wish to get pregnant, then you need to shed some weight. And intermittent fasting is the best way to do it. Research has shown that losing weight 8 to 10 percent will help to get pregnant quickly. As it is already discussed, intermittent fasting is a tool to balance insulin levels in the body, leading to an increase in the fertility of a woman.

Final Sum up

Intermittent fasting is not suitable during pregnancy, as it may cause different problems in the body. Especially if you are new to intermittent fasting, then pregnancy is not the right time to have its experience. If you want to have a loss in weight, then you can do it after waiting for just nine months, or if you are too impulsive, then do intermittent fasting before pregnancy and lose the weight. But in both cases, you should consult your doctor after pregnancy; you may have plans for breastfeeding. Intermittent fasting is not also useful for those women who are breastfeeding, so it is better to have the advice of the doctor.


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