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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
  • donate

Difficulty fasting, due just after Yom Kippur

1 December, 2015


I am a terrible faster – in the past I’ve fainted on yom kippur, and I always get very weak and bad headaches. Even after I eat, I feel very sick/weak and don’t feel fully myself until the following day.

I am due a couple of days after Yom Kippur with my 4th child. And I am extremely worried that if I fast I will go into labor (this pregnancy I’ve had a few incidents of strong contractions after not drinking for a few hours) and even if I do eat after signs of labor start I will still not have strength to have a normal delivery. I am worrying myself sick over this. I haven’t called a rav yet because everything I’ve heard until now was to the effect of “you are full term anyway, so no harm if you go into labor. And if you do, you can start eating/drinking” – but that doesn’t help me: So I am worried if I call a rav, I will hear a similar response and then I will be bound by the psak.

So my question is – if I know myself and KNOW that I get very weak/sick and that eating once I’ve fasted doesn’t help me – l’chatchila start with shiurim (at least) or just eat/drink normally to ensure no complication during labor?

Thank you so much.


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.

Given your specific situation, you are permitted eat and drink in shiurim from the beginning of the fast. Please consult with your physician as to whether this will be sufficient and safe for you. It’s important for your doctor to be sensitive to the seriousness of the fast and give a well-though-out answer.

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. Arrange for help to take care of your other children. Your fasting takes precedence over your husband’s davening in shul, so if necessary he should daven in an early minyan, come home mid-morning to help you out, or even stay home altogether. Make sure to hydrate yourself very well for 2-3 days before the fast.

For future pregnancies a new question should be asked.

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

Gmar chatimah tovah!

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.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.

Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under

Accessibility Toolbar