Pregnant on Tishah B'Av
I have read all over the internet, ie., aish, chabad and other websites that say that pregnant women should fast on Tisha B'Av. Is that the case for all women? I am in the 31st week now and I will be in week 33 by then. I am concerned about going into early labor as it is my 3rd child. I also will have to take care of my other 2 children all day so that my husband can be in shul most of the day. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Thank you for your question.
As you read, pregnant women are required to fast on Tishah B'Av. Permission to eat is given in situations in which the fast is a threat to the woman's or fetus's health.
If yours is a high risk pregnancy or you have a history of pre-term labor, you should consult your doctor before the fast. Otherwise, try to create an optimal environment for fasting: stay indoors all day in a cool house, try not to exert yourself in any way, and be sure you drink a lot the day before the fast. Toward this end, we suggest either engaging a baby-sitter or having your husband home after shacharit. Whereas you have a halachic obligation to fast, there is no halachic obligation to say kinot with a minyan or to stay in shul all day on Tishah B'Av, so facilitating your fast would be preferable.
If you feel sick (beyond headache and lethargy, which are to be expected) over the fast, you should contact a rabbi, who will instruct you about how to proceed.
For more information, please see our article, "Pregnancy and the Four Fasts" http://www.yoatzot.org/article.php?id=119 .
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases.
If you have further questions or comments about this email, please click here to Ask the Yoetzet.
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefitted from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.