Intermittent fasting for pregnant women and lactating mothers

by - April 27, 2019

The time of pregnancy and child care is a very beautiful and delicate time in a woman’s life. No two pregnancies are alike, even with the same woman. That said, your obstetrician should be consulted at every turn, and especially before embarking on any fasting journey.

With all the new weight that a woman gains while pregnant, it is a real dilemma trying to lose the baby fat and still provide the necessary nutrients needed for the baby.
The time of pregnancy and breastfeeding is a delicate time. Everything the woman is affected by, affects the child also, therefore she isn’t thinking of her health alone, but that of her baby.

Fasting during pregnancy is a delicate balance. Some research has shown that abstaining from eating for any length of time when you're expecting can cause the production of ketone bodies, molecules produced by the liver during periods of low food intake that may have a negative impact on the fetus. On the other hand, most experts agree that fasting for one day does not impact milk production or impair the health of either mother or baby if both are healthy beforehand.

Pregnant women and lactating mothers need every bit of nutrient they can get, considering they’re literally feeding for two, and pregnancy, as well as breastfeeding are physically (and emotionally) demanding. That said, there are different ways to do intermittent fasting, and most don’t require complete abstinence from food.

Here are some tips for intermittent fasting for pregnant and lactating mothers:

Be ready to start slowly. 

Your body has undergone/is undergoing changes and so you need to ease it into this new habit

Listen to your body. 

The body is blessed with the ability to tell you what it needs and how it feels, so listen to it. Take note of when you’re really hungry, as opposed to when it’s just cravings. Pay attention to emotional triggers that will have you searching out and grabbing every morsel you find.

Drink lots of water. 

I’d say “stay hydrated”, but no, specification is important. Water is the best substance with which to stay hydrated. Water helps maintain milk supply for lactating mothers and it also helps navigating true hunger pains i.e. a lot of times we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty and so drinking water often  helps eliminate these “false” hunger pangs.

Exercise, but not excessively and allow your body to ease into it.
Start small (but be regular), with easy routines and you can build intensity gradually till your body is used to it.

Proteins, vegetables and healthy fat should be a constant in every meal. They help in providing proper nutrition and keeping hunger away.
Plan your meals ahead of time. This is so that when you do get hungry, you already have a prior knowledge of what you’re going to be having and you won’t just stumble into the kitchen and eat everything and anything available.

Take your vitamins and other medication recommended to you by your obstetrician/pediatrician. Consult with them at every point where there’s even the slightest reason to.

Yours and your baby’s health are top priority on this journey, never lose sight of that and ensure you’re doing everything to preserve it.

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