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

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This website, designed for health professionals, is a community service of Nishmat: The Jeanie Schottensteing Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. The purpose of the site is to elucidate issues in Women’s Health and Jewish law (halachah) to enable medical practitioners to provide optimal care to their patients who observe these rules. This site… Read More

Contraception and Jewish Law

Abstract: Jewish law (halacha) permits contraception under some circumstances and prohibits it under others. Contraception may be permitted for personal or health reasons and is required where pregnancy would endanger the mother’s health. The couple should consult with a rabbi about delaying pregnancy and about choosing a contraceptive method. Discussion: Jewish law (halacha) permits contraception… Read More

Introduction to the Laws of Niddah

Abstract:  The ritual status of niddah generally results from uterine bleeding not due to injury. The most common situation is menstruation; other causes may include bleeding from hormonal contraception or treatment, bleeding during pregnancy or with ovulation, and inter-menstrual bleeding from medical conditions.  The niddah status can also result from cervical dilatation during certain medical… Read More

Halachic Considerations in Selecting a Contraceptive Method

Abstract: When contraception is halachically permitted, the choice of a method needs to be made on a case by case basis based on medical and halachic considerations. Halachic concerns with preventing the progression of sperm to the uterus prohibit the use of condoms and make the use of the diaphragm a matter of debate. Most… Read More

Combination Estrogen and Progesterone

Abstract: According to most rabbinic opinions, hormonal methods are generally the halachic first choice for prescribed contraception. However, the breakthrough bleeding that can be associated with these methods can be clinically significant for this patient population, as it may render the wife niddah and prohibit any physical contact. Discussion: Hormonal contraception is generally regarded as… Read More

Fasting and Breastfeeding

Abstract: The Jewish calender has six fast days, which have different levels of stringency. On Yom Kippur and the Ninth of Av it is assumed that healthy women nursing healthy babies will undergo a 24 hour fast (no eating or drinking). Most mothers and babies will not experience negative consequences. However, the physician should convey any… Read More

Progestin Only Contraception

Abstract: Progesterone only methods are often prescribed for breastfeeding women. The main halachic concern with progesterone only preparations is their propensity to cause vaginal bleeding and spotting. This often, but not always, causes the woman to become niddah. Patients should be aware of what to anticipate prior to starting this method. Patients should be counseled… Read More

Medical Devices as Barriers to Mikveh Immersion

Abstract: Prior to immersion in a mikveh, a woman must remove any item that is considered a halachic barrier to immersion (chatzitzah). Medical devices can at times be considered barriers and preclude a woman from using the mikveh. This can lead to a prolonged period of niddah, during which all physical contact between husband and wife is… Read More

Gynecological Procedures and Jewish Law

Abstract: Gynecological examinations and procedures that involve dilation of the cervix or cause uterine bleeding can render a woman niddah. There is some debate among halachic authorities on certain parameters that affect the niddah status. There are generally two issues involved. First, in a case where she bled, can we can be reasonably sure that the… Read More

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