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

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Condom to prevent preterm labor

3 February, 2010



I am 34.5 weeks pregnant, and I had some preterm contractions last week. I asked my ob if it is okay to have relations and she said that until 36 weeks, I can only have relations using a condom. She is not concerned about the relations themselves causing labor, but about the prostaglandin in the semen.

Although normally a condom is not permitted, is there any heter for it in this case?

I would much prefer to be able to have relations now and not to have to wait a week and a half.

I would appreciate if you could bring a source for your answer.

Thank you very much for your wonderful service.


BeSha'ah tovah!

You are correct that using a condom is only permitted in very rare instances, as where there is concern for HIV infection.  In your case, especially since you should be able to resume relations soon, condom use would not be permitted. 

You could check in with your physician about whether using a contraceptive sponge would provide a sufficient barrier against the prostaglandins.  It would be permissible to use a sponge in this case.

For sources on these issues, please see the entry "Contraception" in Dr Steinberg's Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics.

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