Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Labor on Yom Kippur

31 December, 2007

Question:

Hi,

Several years ago, I went into hospital to give birth to my first child on Shabbos, Yom Kippur. My waters had broken in the morning and when I arrived and the staff learned I hadn't eaten anything in a while, they told me I had to eat so that I'd have strength etc. So I did.

I know the question isn't practically relevant anymore, I was just wondering if I did the right thing…

Thanks for this very informative site.


Answer:

A woman in labor is considered a cholah sheyesh bah sakanah, a person whose medical condition is potentially life-threatening. Therefore, a woman who begins to experience signs of labor – even if they are not completely clear – may begin to drink and eat in shiurim (small, measured quantities). Once it becomes clear that she is in labor, she is halachically permitted to eat and drink normally to prevent thirst and keep up her strength.

You can find further details on this topic, and on eating in shiurim, in our article Pregnancy and Yom Kippur.


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