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Ramadan During Pregnancy – Fasting, Nutrition, Sleep Patterns and Offspring Health at Birth: A Cross-Sectional Study

23 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2020

See all articles by Fabienne Pradella

Fabienne Pradella

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics

Birgit Leimer

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics

Anja Fruth

University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Annette Queißer-Wahrendorf

University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Center for Paediatric and Youth Medicine

Reyn van Ewijk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics

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Abstract

Background: Intrauterine exposure to Ramadan is associated with adverse offspring health outcomes. Yet, the dynamics behind these associations remain largely unexplored. We investigate if maternal intermittent fasting or other lifestyle changes during Ramadan affect birth outcomes, and determine whether nutritional and sleep behavior during non-fasting hours influences the fasting-birth weight association.

Methods: Linear regressions are estimated using OLS to identify the associations between fasting, sleep behavior, sweets consumption and birth weight, 5-minute APGAR score and gestational age. Interaction terms between fasting and other behaviors are included to explore the potential moderating role of behaviors beyond the binary fasting decision. The Oster test statistic is calculated to address the possibility of residual confounding.

Findings: Newborns with intrauterine exposure to fasting had lower birth weights than non-exposed newborns (-161ˑ57g, CI: -295ˑ63; -27ˑ51). No associations with APGAR score (0ˑ02, CI: -0ˑ23; 0ˑ27) and gestational age (0ˑ00, CI: -0ˑ51; 0ˑ51) appeared. Sweet food consumption and sleep reduction themselves are not associated with birth outcomes. However, consuming more sweet and fatty foods mitigates the negative fasting-birth weight association. The Oster test statistic shows that results are not subject to residual confounding.

Interpretation: Fasting seems to be the main driver of the negative fasting-birth weight association, while simultaneous nutritional and behavioral changes appear to influence how the effects materialize. Nutrition is a potential mitigating factor that should be taken into consideration when advising Muslim women of childbearing age on their behavior during Ramadan.

Funding: This research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG grant 260639091).

Declaration of Interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: F. Pradella, B. Leimer and R. van Ewijk had financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG grant 260639091) for the submitted work; there are no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years and no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Ethics Approval Statement: The ethics committee of the State Chamber of Medicine in Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) reviewed and approved this study (837.309.14 (9548)). All participants gave informed consent before taking part in this study.

Keywords: Nutrition in pregnancy, Pregnancy diet and nutrition, intermittent fasting, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, Fetal programming, Ramadan during pregnancy

Suggested Citation

Pradella, Fabienne and Leimer, Birgit and Fruth, Anja and Queißer-Wahrendorf, Annette and van Ewijk, Reyn, Ramadan During Pregnancy – Fasting, Nutrition, Sleep Patterns and Offspring Health at Birth: A Cross-Sectional Study. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3698004 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3698004

Fabienne Pradella (Contact Author)

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics ( email )

Germany

Birgit Leimer

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics ( email )

Saarstrasse 21
Mainz, D-55099
Germany

Anja Fruth

University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ( email )

Langenbeckstraße 1
International Office Building 301
Mainz, 55131
Germany

Annette Queißer-Wahrendorf

University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Center for Paediatric and Youth Medicine ( email )

Langenbeckstraße 1
International Office Building 301
Mainz, 55131
Germany

Reyn Van Ewijk

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz - Department of Economics ( email )

Saarstrasse 21
Mainz, D-55099
Germany

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