Document Type: Research Paper
Associate Professor in Neonatology, Neonatal Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
MD, PhD Candidate for Clinical Nutrition, Biochemistry and Nutrition Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Bachelor of Midwifery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
Introduction: Gynecologists and perinatologists are left with many unanswered questions and concerns regarding fasting during pregnancy and its effects on maternal and neonatal health. The current study was conducted to investigate the correlation between the number of Ramadan fasting days and pregnancy outcomes. Methods: In this descriptive, analytical study, 641 newborns, whose mothers had fasting experience during pregnancy, were enrolled and allocated to three groups, based on the number of maternal fasting days during pregnancy (group A: ≤10 days, group B: 11-20 days, and group C: 21-30 days). Demographic and anthropometric data of neonates and mothers were recorded. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square, and non-parametric tests were performed for data analysis. Results: No statistically significant difference was found in maternal weight (during the last month of pregnancy), neonatal height, incidence of pre-term labor, or neonatal congenital abnormality in the three groups. Increased number of fasting days was not correlated with decreased neonatal head circumference or weight, while 1- and 5-minute Apgar scores significantly improved (P<0.05). Conclusion: As the current findings indicated, with increasing number of fasting days, neonatal birth weight or maternal weight did not decrease. In addition, incidence of pre-term labor and low birth weight did not increase, while significant improvements were detected in 1- and 5-minute Apgar scores. Since pregnancy is a delicate state for women, further research on larger populations is recommended to evaluate other parameters and obtain more convincing results about the effects of Ramadan fasting on pregnant women.