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Difficulty fasting, due just after Yom Kippur

1 December, 2015

Question:

I am a terrible faster – in the past I've fainted on yom kippur, and I always get very weak and bad headaches. Even after I eat, I feel very sick/weak and don't feel fully myself until the following day.

I am due a couple of days after Yom Kippur with my 4th child. And I am extremely worried that if I fast I will go into labor (this pregnancy I've had a few incidents of strong contractions after not drinking for a few hours) and even if I do eat after signs of labor start I will still not have strength to have a normal delivery. I am worrying myself sick over this. I haven't called a rav yet because everything I've heard until now was to the effect of "you are full term anyway, so no harm if you go into labor. And if you do, you can start eating/drinking" – but that doesn't help me: So I am worried if I call a rav, I will hear a similar response and then I will be bound by the psak.

So my question is – if I know myself and KNOW that I get very weak/sick and that eating once I've fasted doesn't help me – l'chatchila start with shiurim (at least) or just eat/drink normally to ensure no complication during labor?

Thank you so much.


Answer:

B'Sha'ah Tovah!

Pregnant women are obligated to fast on Yom Kippur unless there is a specific cause for concern that fasting may be dangerous to the mother or fetus.

We do not see cause to permit eating and drinking normally from the beginning of the fast as a preventative measure. However, given your specific situation, you are allowed to eat/drink in shiurim from the beginning of the fast. (For future pregnancies a new question should be asked.)

Aside from that, you should make preparations to ease the fast as much as possible. Stay in bed all day in an air conditioned room. Arrange for help to take care of your other children. Your fasting takes precedence over your husband's davening in shul, so if necessary he should daven in an early minyan, or come home mid-morning to help you out. Make sure to hydrate yourself very well for 2-3 days before the fast.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.

Gmar chatimah tovah!


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