Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blog Reading while Sick

Okay, another nice thing about being sick is that I get to catch up on my blog reading, and something caught my eye. FrumSkeptic had a post (put up in August) about fasting while pregnant, and the topic interested me.

I have consulted with some rabbis and my own personal OB-GYN in the past about this, but being here, I also wondered about the Israel aspect- as Tisha B'Av in E"Y comes out in the hot summer months, making it fairly easy to dehydrate (especially for a pregnant woman). When I first arrived here, I dehydrated fairly rapidly- and was advised to drink a cup of something every hour. After asking a doctor, he said that in the heat here- a pregnant woman should drink 2 cups every hour, to prevent early contractions.

So, what about fasting here? Well- disclaimer- everyone should ask their own local posek and doctor for their own personal conditions and situation.

I found out that according to my OB, pregnant women shouldn't fast on the minor days, and the rabbis that I consulted backed that up.

As for Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur- the OB said it all depends how a pregnant woman feels, but she can fast. If she ends up having ANY symptoms at all- she should consult her rabbi.

Consulting with rabbis also got the answer that a pregnant woman can fast- with the same idea as the OB- any symptoms and a rav should be called.

But, interestingly, Tisha B'Av is more likely to give a pregnant woman a heter to eat than Yom Kippur- because of those hot summer months! And, we change the clock here right before Yom Kippur, so the fast ends at about 5. (A pregnant woman would miss drinking, breakfast, and lunch. )

Remarked upon was the fact that the fetus takes the nourishment from the mother whether or not the mother is eating- a baby will take, whether or not it is being replenished. Dehydration is more of the problem- as the amniotic fluid the baby needs is dependant on that, and it can begin early contractions, so most of the rabbanim, if one finds that there is a problem on the two major fast days, might allow drinking faster than eating.

All the rabbis that I consulted said that it depends on the woman- how she feels, what is her history, and what is the situation at that point. Someone may be given a heter, and someone else may be denied one.

Interesting, no? No rabbi had said, like in FS's post- that one should fast to the point of miscarriage. No doctor had said that it was completely and unequivocally impossible that a pregnant woman could fast.

Maybe the large percentage of the Jewish population in Israel, and more rabbis who are willing to consult with doctors, and vice versa, have provided both with the necessary teamwork to come to similar opinions, and ones that agree with halacha and medical science as well.


The Babysitter said...

that makes sense. But really I think it's like that in NY too. After all, I know 2 ladies who are sisters, both were pregnant the same time, and one was given a heter to drink 2 shnops cups of water every half hour, while another was not given the heter. It's based on the Rav you ask and your medical history.

The Babysitter said...

But that's interesting about the drinking v. eating part. I was wondering why she was only told to drink, and now that makes sense.

frumskeptic said...

thank you for the link :)

nmf #7 said...

Thanks for the comments- and welcome to the blog!
By the way- frumskeptic....
I actually checked with another rav recently, and they did say something to the effect of "you should fast to the point of miscarriage."
When questioned- they responded- any symptom at all is considered up till that point- so until a pregnant woman has symptoms would be the translation of that sentence. Interesting thought.