My wife is pregnant and is type 1 diabetic. Is it mandatory for her to fast? She keeps on asking me and my knowledge is very limited. What does Islam says about fasting during pregnancy?
No, she is exempt from fasting (see link to paper below). In general fasting is exempt if you are elderly, sick, or pregnant. This is because the purpose of a fast isn't to starve yourself nor is it meant to cause hardship in any form. Consider the published paper:
A pregnant woman is exempted from fasting if she has reasons to believe that her health or that of her foetus is in any way compromised through doing so. However, she is expected to observe compensational fasting (“qada”) after her pregnancy.
This review conducted a survey of 202 pregnant women and found that most of them did fast (with minimal effects on the newborn) although most of them were unaware/uneducated of the Islamic law. In other words, they did not even know they were exempt from fasting. Their conclusion was
Conclusion: Doctors and health workers need to understand the religious obligations of a Muslim towards fasting during Ramadan. Only through this can a doctor adequately counsel Muslim patients and allow informed decision with regards to fasting. With respect to pregnant women, provisions are allowed for them not to observe fasting.
Even though women who choose to do it may not have complications, dosnt mean its safe to do so. It may be particular harmful for pregnant woman.
Pregnant muslim women who fast during Ramadan are likely to have smaller babies who will be more prone to learning disabilities in adulthood, according to new research. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/pregnant-women-who-fast-for-ramadan-risk-damage-to-their-babies-study-finds-2010055.html
A study by scientists in the United States, based on census data from the US, Iraq and Uganda, found that pregnant women who fast are likely to have smaller babies who are more prone to learning disabilities in adulthood (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-10927611)
I think both links are referring to one study however, I couldn't find this study (typical media, no link to the actual study and may even have misinterpreted the study's finding). There is also another study that concludes as following:
Our results showed that in mothers with an age range of 25-35 years and with an appropriate BMI and no systemic or chronic disorder, holy month fasting did not have an effect on three principal indices (ie weight, height, and head circumference) of pregnancy outcome
Again, this suggests that unless you are a relatively healthy female with very little medical complications, you may be okay to fast while pregnant but it still carries risk. Since your wife is a type two diabetic, it is a reasonable conclusion that she not fast during this month. First, Islamic law exempts her from doing so, and even if she wants to do, there could be negative health consequences.
Two issue here:
1) Fasting while pregnant 2) Fasting while being a diabetic
1) She can fast if she believes she is able to keep the fasts and won't harm the baby or herself. Otherwise, if she fears of harm, she's considered as one of those who are ill and should feed a miskeen everyday (Quran 2:184).
2) A type 2 diabetic can take his/her insulin while fasting and it won't break the fast. We are only forbidden from eating, drinking, and sex while fasting, and nothing else (Quran 2:187).
She needs to determine her situation.