Expecting a baby is a time of excitement and simultaneously a period that brings up a lot of new questions. Nutrition during pregnancy is one of the first things many pregnant women wonder about.
If you’re already practicing intermittent fasting and have discovered that you’re pregnant, or are considering expanding your family, you may wonder if it’s safe to continue fasting while pregnant.
In this article, we’ve compiled loads of useful information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and intermittent fasting.
- 1 Is intermittent fasting safe while pregnant?
- 2 How should you eat during pregnancy?
- 3 How much water should a pregnant woman drink?
- 4 Is it OK to do intermittent fasting while trying to get pregnant?
- 5 Can you do intermittent fasting while breastfeeding?
- 6 How can I do intermittent fasting while breastfeeding?
- 7 To sum up
- 8 Lose weight with fasting
Is intermittent fasting safe while pregnant?
According to gynecologists, pregnancy is not the ideal time to restrict your calories or your eating window during the day. So it’s not a good idea to do intermittent fasting or practice religious fasting during pregnancy.
Although fasting has health benefits, like weight loss and blood sugar control, pregnancy is not a time to lose weight. Intermittent fasting can lower a pregnant woman’s blood sugar too far.
Low blood during pregnancy sugar may result in:
- fainting, and
- decreased fetal movement
as the fetus gets its energy from the glucose in the mother’s blood.
The only exception may be the 12/12 intermittent fasting plan, where you eat within a 12-hour window and fast for the remaining 12 hours. But bear in mind that even fasting for 12 hours may not be good for you, and may not be suitable for the needs of every trimester.
Consult your OB/GYN, and if they say it’s OK for you to fast for 12 hours a day, you may consider starting your eating period at 7-8 AM and starting your fast 12 hours later around 7-8 PM. Not eating anything for 3-4 hours before your bedtime may also help with heartburn.
If your doctor finds it appropriate for you to follow the 12/12 fasting plan, Fasting Kompanion will guide you on your journey with its many useful tools and informative blog articles.
Note that the most popular options like 14/10 fasting, 16/8 fasting, and 5:2 fasting aren’t suitable during pregnancy. The reason that intermittent fasting in pregnancy is not an ideal nutritional approach is that prolonged fasting is known to put the body in ketosis mode and trigger the production of ketone bodies. These little molecules, ketone bodies, are known to have a negative impact on the fetus.
How should you eat during pregnancy?
Every pregnant woman’s needs are different during pregnancy. Eating small but more frequent meals than usual when you’re pregnant may help you keep your blood sugar balanced, and may help with morning sickness in the first trimester.
For a healthy pregnancy, you need to increase your daily calorie intake during the day. You don’t need to ‘eat for two’ as such, but adding an extra 300-400 calories to your daily nutrition is optimal.
During your meals, you should fill your plate with nutritious foods including fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and whole carbs.
The most common and important nutrition hack is to reduce junk food and simple sugars during pregnancy. Increasing physical activity according to your gynecologist’s advice is a big plus too.
If it’s OK for you to do light cardio exercises. Fitness Kompanion offers bodyweight exercises that you can do without needinng any equipment.
How much water should a pregnant woman drink?
Staying hydrated is vital during pregnancy as it affects the baby’s development. Low levels of hydration during pregnancy may lead to:
- low amniotic fluid
- preterm labor
- inadequate breast milk production, or
- other complications
The amount of water a pregnant woman needs depends on her body size and lifestyle. The average is around 8 to 12 cups of water a day. Also keep in mind that your pee color should be light yellow, which means that your body is well hydrated. Follow our tips to drink more water if you need it.
Is it OK to do intermittent fasting while trying to get pregnant?
Women’s reproductive hormones are sensitive to dietary changes, so it isn’t recommended for women to fast for long hours if they’re trying to get pregnant.
But if you have a hormonal issue that affects fertility, like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), a suitable fasting plan may help you control your blood sugar levels and therefore increase your fertility rate by balancing the reproductive hormones.
Also bear in mind that intermittent fasting isn’t recommended during your PMS week or during the first few days of your period.
Can you do intermittent fasting while breastfeeding?
Intermittent fasting and breastfeeding don’t go well together, as nursing is a period during which you have to consume even more than when you were pregnant. Now you will need to add up to 500 calories a day to your nutrition.
When you don’t eat or drink enough while breastfeeding, your body may not be able to produce adequate levels of milk for the little one. Being more hungry and thirsty during the first few months of breastfeeding is completely normal, as your body is feeding another human being too. So it’s not the ideal time to restrict nutrition, as milk production is sensitive to dietary changes.
How can I do intermittent fasting while breastfeeding?
If your gynecologist approves, you may go back to intermittent fasting while nursing around 6 months postpartum, as by this time most women have a well-established milk supply and breastfeeding routine.
Consult your OB/GYN to find the most suitable intermittent fasting schedule for you, and talk to a dietitian to learn your optimal caloric needs. Consuming less than 1800 calories a day results in a change in milk composition and supply.
Prolonged fasts aren’t recommended during breastfeeding, like in pregnancy. The overproduction of ketone bodies may lead to the development of ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition for the mother.
To sum up
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, your body requires extra calories. So these aren’t suitable periods for calorie restriction and dieting. In general, intermittent fasting is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Lose weight with fasting
Every physiology and every journey is unique. We give you the best intermittent fasting plan for your needs and goals.