(Based on the Psakim of Rabbi Shmuel Weiner Shlita)
When does a Yoledes become Assur?
Usually, this happens in two stages: One where we are only makpid about skin-to-skin touching, and everything else is mutar, and one where we consider the Yoledes to have all the dinim of a Nida.
During the first stage, the only thing which is assur is skin-to-skin touching. Therefore, passing things back and forth, etc. is mutar. It would also be mutar to touch through a glove or to help the Yoledes walk to the taxi if making sure to only touch through clothing. This includes clothing that the Yoledes is wearing.
Water Breaking – If the water breaks and a large amount of fluid comes out, all usual harchakos are mutar, except for skin-to-skin touching.
Contractions – If the contractions become painful, are lasting 30 seconds each, and 2- 3 minutes apart, all usual harchakos are mutar, except for skin-to-skin touching.
Mucus Plug –The Mucus Plug is a mixture of blood and mucus located by the cervix. The Mucus Plug can come out up to even 2 weeks before labor. If it comes out, it has a din like a kesem (stain). Therefore, if it comes out on colored underwear, on/in the toilet, or on toilet paper, she is still mutar. If it was on something that is white and mekabel tumah, like white underwear, and it is the size of a Gris, a Rav should be consulted. This is a rare occurrence, and 99% of the time there is no problem at all.
The second stage is where the Yoledes is considered a Nida, and she will have all the dinei harchakos of a Nida. However, she is also considered a Choleh at this time. This makes the dinei harchakos more lenient. Therefore, the only thing which is always assur is touching. Anything which doesn’t involve touching, such as passing or pouring a drink for her would be mutar if she is too weak to do it herself. If the Yoledes needs help with
physical contact such as sitting up, getting on or off the bed, moving around, etc., if there is someone else who can help her, they should, but if there is nobody else who can help her, the husband may help through clothing, with no skin-to-skin contact. The Yoledes has the din of a Choleh as long as she feels too weak to do things herself.
The second stage happens in one of the following three scenarios:
Bleeding – If there is real bleeding. This usually does not happen until the Yoledes reaches the hospital.
Inability to Walk – If the contractions are so painful that the Yoledes cannot walk between contractions. To be clear, this is not if it is uncomfortable for her to walk, rather this is only if she cannot walk, and needs a wheelchair or she needs to be carried. Again, this should not happen until she reaches the hospital or at least on the way to the hospital.
Birthing Stool – If the Yoledes is on the birthing stool and the nurse says that she will be giving birth imminently.
This all applies even if she is on an Epidural and cannot feel any pain.
If the Doctor strips the Yoledes, this usually does not make her assur.
When can a Yoledes go to the Mikvah?
After birth, the Yoledes is a Nida, and this usually goes on for 4 – 8 weeks. The suggested time to do a Hefsek (assuming the bleeding has stopped) is after 5 weeks. Often, when people try to do a Hefsek before this, there is bleeding or staining afterward, and it complicates things. When the time comes to do a Hefsek, one must bear in mind that the area is very dry for 2-3 months, therefore, the Hefsek is done without a Moch. Additionally, she should only do 3 Bedikos after the Hefsek, one on Day 1, one on Day 4, and one on Day 7. Especially if she had stitches or is sore, one should try to lessen the amount of Bedikos. One can wet the cloth with water and squeeze it out before the Bedika. Also, one can rub a small amount of olive oil on the cloth to make the Bedika easier.
Before Shabbos, one should pack a bag with whatever they would need for the hospital. Muktza items should be placed along with non-Muktza items, as this makes it more lenient. Anything which is reasonable that she would need can be brought. (It is a good idea to pack such a bag by the 9th month anyway, as it makes things simpler) One should always prepare as much as possible before Shabbos so they can minimize
Melacha on Shabbos (i.e. have the taxi’s number on recent numbers etc.). When the Yoledes is in real labor on Shabbos, any Melacha can be done to make her more comfortable so that she should give birth easier. It is preferable to do the Melacha with a Shinui if it will not cause a delay.
If you need hot water, you can use the hot water from a dud shemesh. Turning on a boiler is a problem because usually at the point when it is mutar to do Melacha for the Yoledes, she needs to go to the hospital. There is usually enough time to get to the hospital, so it is preferable to use a non-jew to drive you. For a list of non-Jewish drivers, see the end of the article. However, if you can’t find a non-jew, or you are uncomfortable with a non-jew, you can use a Jew to drive you. If you drive yourself to the hospital, make sure that a non-jew parks and turns off the car.
If one arrived at the Hospital and it was a false call, they can go back home with a non-Jewish taxi. You can ask someone at the desk to order a non-Jewish taxi. It is preferable if they order through the Gett app on your phone because then you don’t have to deal with money on Shabbos. If there is a very short amount of time until Shabbos is over, it is preferable to wait. If the husband will be sent out of the hospital due to the current health situation, they should consult with their Rav in advance to know if they can return home on Shabbos with a non-Jewish taxi.
Inducing and Epidural
Inducing – R’ Moshe Feinstein said that one should not induce unless the Doctor says there is a medical need such as high or low blood pressure, stress, strep, or if it is very long and very painful labor. In such a scenario one should follow the Doctor’s medical advice. But one should not induce if it is just for convenience. One should ask the Doctor if it is safe to wait, and if it is, one should wait.
Epidural – Getting an Epidural is mutar, as there is no real sakana.
Delivery Room – The husband can be in the room at the time of birth, but he must be careful not to see places that are normally covered. Practically, if the husband stands near his wife’s waist or shoulder, facing the head of the bed, he will usually avoid this
Bracha after Birth – Some have the Minhag to make a Bracha after birth. For a boy, the Bracha is HaTov VeHaMeitiv, and for a girl the Bracha is Shehecheyanu. If this is your Minhag, you do not have to make the Bracha right after birth, rather you can wait until the Yoledes is cleaned up. You can each make the Bracha, or the husband can make it for his wife and she can answer Amen. If it is not your Minhag to make the Bracha, you should not make the Bracha.
If the baby is a boy, make sure to visit www.thebrisguide.com for the Parent’s Comprehensive Guide to Bris Milah. With topics such as What is a Bris?, What Do I Need To Know?, Choosing a Mohel, Choosing a Name, Halls, Caterers, and Gemachim and much more, The Bris Guide covers all aspects of Bris Milah, and is sure to give you the confidence you need to approach the big day completely prepared.
B’Shaa Tova and Mazal Tov!!!
Rabbi Shlomo Golish, Author of The Bris Guide, is a Certified Mohel with over 10 year’s experience. He trained in and has performed Brissim in the U.S.A., England, and Israel. Rabbi Golish combines the Tradition of the past Mohelim with modern technique and medicine. Feel free to contact Rabbi Golish with any questions at 058-321-0909 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, check out www.thebrisguide.com