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

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Delaying mikveh for short term contraception

27 October, 2016

Question:

Sadly, I had a very early miscarriage, or biochemical pregnancy as the doctors call it, at 5 weeks. It was most probably due to the urinary tract infection (cystitis), as the doctor explained. The doctors recommend avoiding pregnancy for the next 2 months to fully complete the treatment of cystitis and go through preventive therapy, plus to fully check my hormones through the next natural cycle.

It means that we need to opt for a halachically approved methods of contraception for these two month. Hormonal contraception is ruled out since it would interfere with the level of the hormones in my blood and will not give a clear picture. Although there is no actual evidence of further associated risks or any hormonal imbalance, we need to make sure I go through this check up to prevent recurrence.

What would be the best halachic contraception in this case? Spermicides are not the best choice for me due to interfering with natural PH balance and the risk of yeast infections, which I had before even before marriage.

Can we postpone mikve? I am not sure for how many days, since ovulation following early miscarriage is not so easily predictable, but I can use ovulation kits. It might leave me a niddah for additional 4-5 days this cycle. My husband is ready for that.

Or would it be an option to go to the Mikve and abstain from intimacy but at least stop observing harchakot? From what I read it is not the preferred option.


Answer:

We are very sorry to hear of your miscarriage.

Unfortunately, for optimal use, all halachically approved barrier methods involve spermicides. However, barrier methods such as the diaphragm or cervical cap do provide some protection if used alone. These need to be fitted by a physician, so discuss that option with your doctor. If you can reliably medically determine when you are ovulating, you may rely on abstinence during your window of fertility. You may want to find a teacher of the Fertility Awareness Method as well, to further help determine your window of fertility.

Some halachic authorities recommend postponing mikveh until relations will be possible, in order to minimize the risk of hotza'at zera l'vatalah. Rav Yehuda Henkin, the halachic supervisor of our site, allows each couple to make the judgment themselves. If you and your husband do not feel that there is likely to be a problem, you may immerse on time to allow physical closeness without intercourse.

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


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