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Is it safe to visit a Ramadan tent while I'm pregnant?

While you're pregnant, there are a few things you should avoid if you plan to spend time in a Ramadan tent with your friends and family.

Ramadan tents are often full of smoke. This may be harmful to you and your baby. Limit the time you spend in any smoky places, and sit out in the fresh air if the tent is full of smoke. If you are already a smoker, you may want to take advantage of the holy month to try to quit.

Don't eat buffet food that has been laid out for more than four hours, especially if it has been kept warm. Bacteria thrive on lukewarm food. Foods you should avoid eating when pregnant include raw or undercooked eggs, meat and fish. And you shouldn't eat any soft, unpasteurised cheeses, such as goat's or sheep's milk varieties.

Try not to drink a lot of strong coffee. Up to 200mg of caffeine a day (two cups of coffee) is safe when you're pregnant. However caffeine makes you lose more water when you wee, as it's a diuretic. So while you're fasting, it's even more important to stick to non-caffeinated drinks, to avoid dehydration.

Take care with fresh fruit, vegetables and salad that may not have been washed properly. There is a small chance that they could be infected with the toxoplasma parasite or listeria bacteria.

However, if you are pregnant and abroad while visiting a Ramadan tent, don't eat food that may have been washed in tap water. So avoid salads and fruit that you can't peel yourself. Ensure that water is safe to drink by buying bottled water, and drink it within three days of opening. Boiled water and drinks made using boiling water are safe to drink.

If you're visiting a hot country during Ramadan, try to stay in the shade and drink plenty of fluids between dusk and dawn. A hand-held fan will also help to keep you cool.

Your family and friends may want to stay up late into the night, but be careful not to overdo it or become too tired. Growing a baby is hard work, and you'll need to preserve your energy for the months to come.

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