QUESTION: I am nine months pregnant, and my husband and I have been doing Lamaze classes to prepare for the birth of our baby. Part of the Lamaze method includes pressure massage and massage of the abdomen. I have been told, though, that it is forbidden by halakhah for my husband to do this because I will be in niddah at that time. Some people have even told me that I can’t hold my husband’s hand during childbirth for this reason. Is this true?
ANSWER: It is wonderful to hear that you are expecting a baby! B’sha’ah tovah u’mutzlachat!
Your question is one that many frum people are asking these days. In just the last few years, there have been multiple Hebrew teshuvot and articles written on this topic in Israel, although it has so far received little, if any, treatment in English. To answer this question we must address three issues:
When does a woman in childbirth become in niddah?
May we override halakhic restrictions for a woman in childbirth for the sake of her peace of mind?
May the prohibition against touch during the niddah period be overridden for a woman in childbirth?