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

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Corona: Continuous contraceptive pills

8 October, 2020

Question:

I have been taking birth control pills on an extended cycle for several years with no breakthrough bleeding. Since March (the outbreak of the pandemic), I have been taking it continuously (with the approval of my midwife) for seven months to avoid having a period because I am very nervous about going to the mikvah given the pandemic. Tonight, after using the bathroom, I saw red on the toilet paper. I do not know how long I waited before wiping. Am I considered to be in niddah? Do I need to separate from my husband if there is no more staining nor start of a flow?

Thank you for being there to answer questions of women like me.


Answer:

When a woman has waited, or thinks she may have waited, fifteen seconds between urinating and wiping, discharge on toilet paper may be disregarded. (Deliberately waiting that long can help prevent future questions.)

If the time elapsed was certainly shorter, then your status depends on a number of details, including the shade of what you saw (and under what lighting conditions you saw it), if there was plausible non-uterine source of bleeding, and whether you follow Ashkenazi or Sefardi halachic rulings. Please see our article on toilet paper for more details.

When a woman has non-niddah staining, we recommend abstaining from intercourse for a day or so. This is a precaution to prevent a flow from beginning during relations, and not a strict halachic requirement.

It is fairly common for women to experience breakthrough bleeding when extending active pill use. When breakthrough bleeding begins, it often makes sense to stop the active pills and allow for withdrawal bleeding. We recommend checking in with your midwife or physician for guidance on how to proceed at this stage.

We appreciate your concerns about going to mikveh during the pandemic. At the same time, immersion in a mikveh that follows the guidelines of local health authorities is generally considered safe for women who are not at high risk. By preparing at home, maintaining distance from other women there, and wearing a mask as much as possible, you can increase your Covid-19 safety.

In light of your nervousness, you may also seek to arrange to immerse first on a given evening, before other women arrive. Please see our extensive section on Coronavirus and Taharat Hamishpacha for guidelines and FAQs on immersing in the current circumstances, and please let us know if you have any further questions.

B’hatzlacha!


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