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Women Expecting & Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Women Expecting & 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)


How should one prepare if one’s wife is expecting and might give birth on Shabbat?


A woman who is giving birth is considered a choleh sheyesh bo sakanah (a life threatening sick person). It is permitted to desecrate Shabbat, and is even considered a mitzvah to do so, in order to help her give birth safely and to tend to her needs. [1] A woman who is in her ninth month of pregnancy, and her baby’s birth could take place at any time, should begin to prepare for a possible birth on Shabbat. Everything that one can prepare before Shabbat should be prepared beforehand to minimize the possibility of having to perform melachah if the birth occurs on Shabbat. [2]

Some examples of what one should prepare before Shabbat include:

a. Having the light on in the home in order that one should be able to easily find the things that one needs.[3]

b. Have all of the necessary paperwork already filled out, and be registered at the hospital where one wants to give birth.[4]

c. Prepare all identification and health insurance documents. One should also write down one’s blood type, allergies, history of previous births or complications, or other important medical information in order that no additional tests or writing should be necessary upon arriving to the hospital.

d. Personal items the woman will need at the hospital should be packed in a bag before Shabbat. This can include food and wine for Kiddush, a siddur or other books that may be needed.[5]

e. Arrangements for a baby-sitter to stay with the children should be made before Shabbat.[6]

f. If there may be a need to shave an area on one’s body, it should preferably be shaved before Shabbat.[7]

Adapted From R’ Yonatan Nacsons “Laws Of Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 313-314


[1]. Shulchan Aruch 330:1. See also Kaf HaChayim 330:17; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 302 who state that even if the fetus is a mamzer, one may violate Shabbat to care for the mother to have a healthy birth.

[2]. Sefer Chassidim §855; Magen Avraham 330:1; Chattam Sofer, Y.D. §338. The Mishnah Berurah 330:1 and Aruch HaShulchan 330:3 state that it is not an obligation to prepare everything before Shabbat, but it is certainly praiseworthy and proper. See also Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah, ch. 33, footnote 13; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 320.

[3]. Ben Ish Chai, Tetzaveh 2:14; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 320.

[4]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 320; Ibid., Avelut, vol. 1, pp. 52-53; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 301. If a woman must sign a document on Shabbat, she should use her weaker hand and preferably not sign in Hebrew, if possible. In many hospitals it is usually acceptable to have witness consent and have the forms signed the next day or to have administrative consent where the administrator on duty signs to approve the verbal agreement by the patient.

[5]. See Yad LeYoledet, p. 40. If there is no eruv, the bag should be taken by a non-Jew.

[6]. In the case that one did not make previous arrangements: Since it is dangerous to leave young children at home alone, one may even drive the children to a relative. (Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 41:28.)

[7]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 205.

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