Effects of Ramadan fasting on fetal health: A systematic review

Andrew Khai Weyn Ong, Anne Li Yee, Adrian Jing Hong Fong, Valliammai Jayanthi Thirunavuk Arasoo, Amutha Ramadas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Ramadan fasting (RF) is mandatory for all healthy Muslims in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Although pregnant women are exempt from fasting, many make the decision to practise it. Concerns that fasting during pregnancy harms the fetus remain, as there are no firm recommendations regarding its safety. Objectives: To provide a systematic review on the effects of RF on fetal health. Search Strategy: We conducted a literature search for peer-reviewed articles through Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, SCOPUS, EMBASE and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) until 31 December 2021. Selection Criteria: All case–control and observational cohort studies that reported on fetal outcomes of pregnant women who underwent RF for at least one day during pregnancy are included. Data Collection and Analysis: Two researchers independently reviewed the eligibility of all studies. A third researcher resolved any conflict between researchers. Findings are extracted from eligible papers and presented as narratives. Main Results: Fourteen articles are included based on eligibility criteria, with a total sample size of 2889. Studies demonstrate negative associations between RF and neonatal weight, amniotic fluid index, preterm birth and growth parameters mainly during the second and third trimesters. However, the evidence is not strongly supported. Conclusion: There is limited data to elucidate the relationship between RF and fetal health, hence the need for more studies to provide a better understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 2023


  • fetal outcomes
  • pregnant women
  • Ramadan fasting

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