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

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Fasting at 10 weeks pregnant

30 September, 2014


I am a healthy 30 year old woman. I am in my 10th week of pregnancy. What is the halacha regarding fasting on Yom Kippur? I am especially concerned about what to do if I start vomiting. Is there any leniency to drink water in that case?


B’Sha’ah tovah!

Pregnant women are halachically obligated to fast on Yom Kippur unless there is a specific cause for concern that fasting may be dangerous to the mother or fetus.

Please consult with your physician about fasting on Yom Kippur, explaining the seriousness of the fast. You should then get back to us or a rabbinic authority with the position and reasoning of your doctor.

Assuming your pregnancy is going smoothly, you should begin fasting normally. If you start feeling very ill (beyond the normal weakness/hunger/headaches associated with a fast) or if you begin experiencing contractions, you should start eating/drinking in shiurim. If you begin vomiting, you can start eating/drinking in shiurim, and if your situation doesn’t improve you may drink normally. Please see our article on Pregnancy and Yom Kippur for a description of how to measure shiurim.

Aside from that, you should make preparations to ease the fast as much as possible. Stay in bed all day in an air conditioned room. If you have other children, arrange for help with childcare. Your fasting takes precedence over your husband’s davening in shul, so if necessary he should daven in an early minyan, or come home mid-morning to help you out. Make sure to hydrate yourself very well for 2-3 days before the fast.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.

Gmar chatimah tovah!

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