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

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Yichud (seclusion)

Abstract: Jewish Law prohibits men and women from being alone together in a secluded location unless they are married to each other or are close family members. This applies to a patient being alone in a closed room with a physician. Halacha provides provisions to allow for privacy for clinical examinations. Discussion: Within Jewish Law… Read More

Information to Provide
BEFORE a Gynecological Examination/Procedure

The information that is important in rendering a halachic ruling is summarized in the following list of questions. This form can be printed out as a written report whose completion will minimize the chance of errors in transmission. Click here, for the printable form. Name of procedure / type of examination: ______________ 1. Must the examination… Read More

Lactational Amenorrhea Method of Contraception

Abstract: The lactational amenorrhea method is not halachically considered a form of active contraception at all and thus it presents no halachic concerns. In fact, Jewish Law encourages breastfeeding for at least two years, without concern for the potential reduction in fecundity during that time. Discussion: The lactational amenorrhea method is endorsed by the World Health Organization… Read More

Halachic Supervision for Assisted Reproductive Technology

by Rabbi Dr. Richard Weiss A halachic approach to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) requires hashgachah (halachic supervision) of the process, lest exchanges of sperm, eggs, or embryos occur. Some rabbinic authorities raise the fear of deliberate tampering with patients’ samples; however, this is much less likely than is simple human error or carelessness on the… Read More

Down Syndrome screening

The question below was submitted to, Nishmat’s Women’s Health and Halacha (Jewish Law) website for the lay public. “Is there a halacha regarding the AFP test? If there is none, I am wondering what your recommendation is in my situation. “I am 15 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. I never took the test before because… Read More


Jewish Law (halacha) permits contraception under some circumstances and prohibits under others. The decision to delay pregnancy is one that is ideally made by the couple after consultation with a rabbi who understands their personal and medical circumstances. They will likely turn to the physician for clarification of the medical issues needed to make the… Read More

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Abstract: The irregular menses common with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) [1] can lead to prolonged periods of niddah, during which the couple must refrain from physical contact. PCOS is the most common cause of female factor infertility in this patient population. Treatment of the condition in the observant Jewish cohort should consider the timing of induced… Read More

Mikveh Immersion After Mastectomy

Abstract: Women post mastectomy may be uncomfortable being seen unclothed and thus delay mikveh immersion, with major impact on the physical relationship with their husbands. There are multiple halachic solutions that allow for immersion without the affected area being seen by the mikveh attendant. Physicians should encourage women to consult with their halachic advisor to find the solution… 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