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Staying Next To The Hospital On Shabbat When Expecting

The Daily Halacha Moment - Staying Next To Hospital On Shabbat 🏥


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

Does a woman need to stay next to a hospital on Shabbat if she’s in her ninth month and is due at any day?


Answer:

A woman is not obligated to sleep near or in the hospital on Shabbat throughout the ninth month or even at the end of the ninth month in order that she will not have to drive there on Shabbat if the birth oc[1]curs on Shabbat.[1] Similarly, a woman who is close to her due date may spend Shabbat away from home, even if it is further away from a hospital.[2] However, if the woman is already in active labor on erev Shabbat, it is proper that one should already make one’s way to the hospital on erev Shabbat, so that one will not have to go on Shabbat when the contractions become more intense.[See footnote 3] One who has already begun steady contractions on Shabbat should not wait until after Shabbat in order to travel to the hospital, even if Shabbat will end shortly. When she feels the need to go to the hospital, one should not take Shabbat into consideration.[4]


Adapted From R’ Yonatan Nacsons “Laws Of Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 314


Sources:

[1]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 321, end of footnote 3; Ibid., Avelut, vol. 1, p. 52; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 220.

[2]. Nishmat Avraham, new edition, 330:25:4; See also Orchot Shabbat, vol. 2, ch. 20, footnote 113 who permits one to go further away from home for a family celebration.

[3]. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 36:7 quoting Ketzot HaShulchan 140:3; Yalkut Yosef, Shab[1]bat, vol. 4, p. 293. However, Refuat Yisrael, pp. 345-346 brings in the name of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that it really depends on the situation. Even if she believes that she will give birth on Shabbat, she is not required to travel to the hospital on Friday to endure the inconvenience and discomfort of waiting in the lobby until her contractions become stronger and at closer intervals and she is ready to be admitted. Rather, she may wait in the comfort of her own home. Then, when the labor intensifies, she may go to the hospital even on Shabbat. However, it seems to me that if the woman is already in active labor and it is almost definite that within the next hour or two she will have to make her way to the hospital and waiting in the hospital is not a great inconvenience, then it is better to travel before Shabbat. See also Torat HaYoledet, p. 31, end of footnote 1.

[4]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 98.


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