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

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Forgetting hefsek and pills

5 November, 2018

Question:

I did my hefsek and moch dachuk today, but it may have been too late. It was after shekiah and a few minutes before halachic tzeit. The sky was not fully dark and I could still see the rays of the sun going down.

Lately I have been forgetting to do it on time. I was supposed to do it almost 2 weeks ago, but kept forgetting until after tzeit for about 4 days. Then on what should have been the last day of sheva nekiim (had I remembered to do the bedikot on time), I began having a heavy flow, so I stopped counting (on the third day from when I did do the moch). I had a flow for 5 days.

I am on birth control, but have been forgetting to take it regularly, leading to irregular periods and frequent spotting. I am trying to stop nursing, and this has led to my baby waking up for her regular feedings, resulting in sleep deprivation which leads to my forgetfulness.


Answer:

We are sorry to hear that you've been having so much trouble lately remembering the hefsek taharah and the pill.

Unfortunately, based on what you write, your hefsek taharah was too late to count for Thursday.

Ideally, you should make a new hefsek taharah today in the afternoon before shekiah. But even if you were to forget, after the fact, the hefsek you made yesterday evening could count for today.

In fact, we usually recommend to women with difficulty remembering the hefsek taharah that they should perform a bedikah on the morning of the planned hefsek taharah. That way, if they do wind up forgetting in the afternoon, the morning bedikah can retroactively be considered a hefsek taharah for the day.

The weaning process itself can lead to spotting, as can missing pills such as you describe. You may wish to consult your physician about switching to a form of birth control that does not require remembering to take a pill every day. Combined hormonal contraception is available as a vaginal ring (left in for three weeks at a time) or a patch (changed weekly).  Alternatively, if you plan to continue to use contraception for six months or more, you may want to consider using an IUD or IUS, which can be placed and then largely forgotten about.

Please write back with any further questions. We hope that you and your baby get some sleep!


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