The miracle of birth is one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of
life. As the person which was inside the woman begins his life on the
outside, the couple must abstain from sexual relations for a short time.
1. According to the law as described in the Torah itself, the woman is
considered niddah after childbirth for seven days for a boy and for
fourteen days for the birth of a girl. The torah law is that any bleeding
which occurs for 33 days following the seven (for a boy) and for 66 days
following the fourteen (for a girl) does not render the woman niddah. In
fact the couple need not abstain from physical intimacy or even sexual
intercourse while she is discharging this blood.
2. As was stated, the above represents the law as it was written in the
torah, however, the great Geonic rabbis decided that since the violation
of the laws of niddah is so grave, it is important that the couple not
get used to having physical intimacy while she is bleeding. They
therefore determined that any blood from the uterus, even the discharge
occurring for 33 or 66 days following birth, renders the woman niddah.
Moreover, according to the rabbis the woman must wait for seven clean
days after she stops seeing blood before going to the miqveh and resuming
physical intimacy with her husband. This rule applies even if she has
already immersed. Transgression of this rule is grave.
3. Today all woman who give birth are accustomed to follow all of the
regular laws of niddah: that she must count seven clean days and that
the couple must abstain from physical contact if she is still bleeding as
in the regular rule of the niddah (zabah gedola) from the Torah. 205.
4. If a woman gave birth to a girl she may not immerse before fourteen
days have passed even if she has already finished counting seven clean
days. If she immersed before fourteen days have passed she remains impure
until the fifteenth night at which time she may immerse.
5. All of the regular rules of niddah and the behavior which might lead
to physical contact (chapter VII) apply also for one who has given birth.
6. If a woman has already properly immersed during the forty days after
the birth of a boy or eighty days after a girl. If she subsequently
bleeds and has become “niddah” before the end of this time when she
immerses she must not make a blessing on her immersion. This is because
her “niddah” status is not actual but dictated by the Geonic rabbis.
7. A woman who recently gave birth and saw a stain the same strictness as
is normally followed is observed by her. However, in slightly
questionable cases one may be lenient. It is best to consult your rabbi
in such cases.
8. Certain women are accustomed not to immerse for forty days after the
birth of a boy and eighty days after the birth of a girl. This custom is
a mistake and was learned from people who do not believe in the Oral
Tradition. Any woman who has in the past been following this custom
should instead count seven clean days then immerse like everyone else.
9. If a woman who has completed forty days of pregnancy miscarries, she
is considered niddah as if she had given birth to a girl and must not
dip until the fourteenth day has passed and has counted seven clean
days. The seven clean days may be included in the fourteen days.
10. If a woman has not completed forty days of pregnancy (including the
fortieth day) miscarries she is not “niddah” as if she gave birth. (11.)
However she is considered a niddah even if she did not bleed and must
count seven clean days then properly immerse.
11. Additional situations of miscarriages which might occur (for example,
if she only miscarried a placenta) or any other questions should be asked
of your rabbi.
12. There is a rule cited in the Gemara, that the uterus does not open
without bleeding: This refers to a uterus which opened by itself.
However, an internal examination done by a doctor with a utensil or his
fingers very possibly might not lead to bleeding. Therefore if after a
medical examination she checked herself and found herself clean, she is
not niddah. This rule also applies to a woman in the middle of her seven
clean days so that she may continue counting.
13. Because of this rule (that the uterus does not open without bleeding)
if a baby stuck his smallest limb out and then returned it, even if the
woman did not then give birth she is niddah for 14 days.
14. When a woman gave birth through a Caesarian she does not have the
rules of a woman who gave birth vaginally (seven days for a boy and
fourteen for a girl; or the rules of pure blood discussed above). She
does have the rules as regular niddah and if she did not bleed from her
uterus through the vagina she is not considered niddah at all.
15. The breaking of a woman’s water is not considered bleeding to
render a woman niddah unless blood is seen with the water.