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

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Pregnant on Tishah B’Av

27 July, 2008

Question:

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?


Answer:

BeSha'ah tovah!

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 for two days before the fast.  Toward this end, we suggest either engaging a baby-sitter or having your husband come 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 over the fast (beyond headache and lethargy, which are to be expected), you may break your fast.

For more information, please see our article, "Pregnancy and the Four Fasts."


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