Health beliefs and practices of Muslim women during Ramadan

MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2011 Jul-Aug;36(4):216-21; quiz 222-3. doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e3182177177.


There are clear exemptions in Islam from fasting in Ramadan during sickness, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Yet, some Muslim women still elect to fast while sick, pregnant, or breastfeeding because of a confluence of social, religious, and cultural factors. Little is known about the physiological effects of fasting during Ramadan on the mother or her unborn baby, and thus nurses and other healthcare providers are faced with the difficult task of providing appropriate medical advice to Muslim women regarding the safety and impact of their fasting. This article describes what is known about this topic and suggests that healthcare professionals learn as much as possible about the multicultural best practices and research-driven information about fasting in order to help Muslim women make informed decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / ethnology*
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Fasting / adverse effects
  • Fasting / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Islam*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / ethnology*
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Religion
  • Women's Health / ethnology*