« go back

If I go into labor on Shabbos what are the Halachos I need to know? Can I call my doula, can my husband come with me to the hospital, etc?

IY”H the birth should go very smoothly and we should hear Besuros Tovos.

Here is a general outline of Halachos regarding labor on Shabbos. The same principles apply to Yom Kippur:

Whatever can be done before Shabbos to minimize the desecration of Shabbos, should be done in advance. If it is obvious that the birth will take place before Shabbos, one should travel to the hospital before Shabbos begins so that she will not have to travel on Shabbos.

If a woman can be driven to the hospital by a non-Jew she should arrange – before Shabbos – for a non-Jew to drive her.

The following should be done before Shabbos begins: The phone number of the doctor and of a non-Jewish neighbor, ambulance or taxi service should be noted in an easily accessible, non-Muktzeh location. When possible, payment should be pre-arranged. Whatever house or garage lights that would be needed to facilitate leaving for the hospital in the middle of the night, should be turned on before Shabbos. Personal items the woman will need at the hospital should be packed in a bag before Shabbos. Arrangements for a baby-sitter to stay with other children should be made before Shabbos.

As soon as a woman experiences steady contractions, even though she is quite sure that she is far from giving birth, she (or any other person) may call the doctor or the designated driver to take her to the hospital. She should not wait for the latter stages of labor before going to the hospital. When making the phone call on Shabbos to the doctor or the non-Jewish driver, the receiver should be lifted off its cradle in an unusual manner, e.g., with one’s elbow or teeth – time permitting. The conversation should be limited to a bare minimum, although it is permitted to say “hello” and “thank you”, etc. After the conversation is over, the receiver may not be returned to the cradle unless the phone line is needed for the sake of the patient, or if not hanging up will tie up the doctor’s line. Then, too, the receiver should be hung up in an unusual manner.

If time allows, the non-Jew should be asked to carry the woman’s bag to the car. When time allows it, the door to the vehicle should be opened and closed by the non-Jew.

If it helps to relax her, her husband or another person may accompany her to the hospital, even if their assistance is not medically warranted. The person going along may also bring with him basic food necessities that will be required on Shabbos.

The door may not be closed upon leaving the car, since closing the door will cause the light to be turned off.

In the absence of any other alternative or when arrangements were not made in advance, it is PERMITTED for a Jew [the husband or any other person] to DRIVE the woman to the hospital himself. A couple who is aware before Shabbos that the driver may be a Jew, should prepare before Shabbos for that eventuality.

Once he arrives at the hospital emergency room, the car may be placed in the “park” position, but the ignition and the lights may not be turned off. He may ask a non-Jew to take the car, park it, and return the keys to him after Shabbos.

It is important to stress, though, that all of the Halachos that pertain to making the phone call, hanging up, driving on Shabbos, etc., are to be followed only when time allows. Once heavy labor is under way, everything should be done in the speediest, safest manner, as if the labor is taking place on a weekday.

If the woman comes to the hospital and has false labor and there are no provisions for her in the hospital (i.e. she is not being admitted and no food) she should be driven home by a non-Jew. Her husband and/or companion, who came with her may go back as well if she feels that she needs his presence and support or if he cannot return safely and comfortably on foot.

For Uber see this link:

http://www.chesedcenter.org/shabbos-taxi/

See also http://www.halacha2go.com/php/h2go/home2.php?number=580


Add Comment

Your Email address will not be published