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

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Labor on Yom Kippur

31 December, 2007



Several years ago, I went into hospital to give birth to my first child on Shabbos, Yom Kippur. My waters had broken in the morning and when I arrived and the staff learned I hadn’t eaten anything in a while, they told me I had to eat so that I’d have strength etc. So I did.

I know the question isn’t practically relevant anymore, I was just wondering if I did the right thing…

Thanks for this very informative site.


A woman in labor is considered a cholah sheyesh bah sakanah, a person whose medical condition is potentially life-threatening. Therefore, a woman who begins to experience signs of labor – even if they are not completely clear – may begin to drink and eat in shiurim (small, measured quantities). Once it becomes clearer that she is in labor, she is halachically permitted to eat and drink normally to prevent thirst and keep up her strength.

We encourage a woman approaching term to clarify these guidelines further with her health care provider and to follow up with a halachic authority.

You can find further details on this topic, and on eating in shiurim, in our article Pregnancy and Yom Kippur.

This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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