Preventing a Miscarriage

In reply to your letter of the 16th of Tammuz in which you describe your health situation and that you have, Heaven preserve us, miscarried a number of times:

In matters such as these you should strengthen your bitachon in G‑d, that He Who oversees everything with individual Divine providence and is the Ultimate of Goodness, will grant you open, overtly revealed goodness and kindness.

Together with the above, see to it to scrupulously observe — as is the custom of proper Jewish daughters — the laws of family purity and the laws of tznius, as well as conducting your household in a Jewish manner. This will serve to hasten and increase G‑d’s blessings for that which you require in general, and for children in particular.

Since everything is to be done as well through natural means, ask a specialist how you are to conduct yourself during your pregnancy. No doubt you will refrain from lifting heavy loads and from unaccustomed running, and the like.

When you become pregnant, do not inform anyone other than those who are closest to you until you enter your fifth month of pregnancy. With blessings that you be able to convey glad tidings with regard to all the above.

.. P.S. If the mezuzos in your home were not checked during the past 12 months, it would be worthwhile to have them checked now.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 278)

Mood Swings During Pregnancy

I am in receipt of your letter of the 12th of Kislev. I must say I was greatly surprised to note the mood in which your letter was written.

Surely you realize that children are the greatest of all Divine blessings. Indeed, it is the first commandment in the Torah — “Be fruitful and multiply.” Moreover, the fact that this is the first commandment and blessing in the Torah demonstrates how very significant and important this commandment is. Thus, the news of the expected addition in the family should have brought you considerable joy.

You wonder and are shocked at your reaction. But surely you know from your own previous experience when G‑d had blessed you and you were in a similar condition, that it is natural in a state of pregnancy to have certain reactions, reactions that have nothing to do with the blessing itself.

Just as there are certain physical reactions during pregnancy, such as, for example, a craving for or dislike of certain foods, so, too, can there be a certain moodiness, irritability and the like. At any rate, there is no basis at all to feel depressed or discouraged when such feelings occasionally appear.

I am therefore confident that this letter will find you in a much improved state of mind and in full appreciation of this great Divine blessing with which you and your husband and family have been blessed.

May G‑d grant that you have an easy and normal pregnancy, giving birth to a healthy child at the proper time, and that, together with your husband, you should raise all your children to a life of Torah, chuppah, and good deeds.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 20 Kislev, 5732)

Glumness Brought About by Pregnancy

In reply to your letter of the 18th of MarCheshvan in which you write about the health status of Mrs. ... tichye:

Her pregnancy should express itself in [joy and] thankfulness to G‑d; it should not — Heaven forfend — cause her to be glum and morose.

With regard to her maladies: If she would spend several weeks in a more favorable climate, surely her health situation would improve. No doubt there are appropriate places for the above in Eretz Yisrael.

Understandably, she is also to conduct herself in accordance with the conduct of all fine and upstanding Jewish women. She should also check the mezuzos in her home and give several coins to tzedakah every erev Shabbos and erev Yom Tov prior to lighting candles.

Certainly Mrs. ... is obeying the doctor’s instructions with regard to proper diet, exercise, etc. May G‑d grant her an easy and healthy pregnancy and an easy birth of a healthy child. I await hearing glad tidings from you.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXVII, p. 1901 )

Routine Internal Exam During Pregnancy

.. With regard to [routine] examinations [during pregnancy]:

Generally, these examinations are performed only as an added caution (leyeser se’eis).Therefore, as much as possible, you should avoid having an internal exam [which could lead to spotting, etc.]. I am almost sure that aside from adding to the doctor’s knowledge [of the normal course of the pregnancy], nothing practical is gained by these examinations.

Therefore, in a gentle manner, assuring that you will not hurt the doctor’s feelings, you should try to avoid this [internal examination]. Hopefully the doctor will not insist that you undergo this exam, seeing as he will that you are not happy to do so, and knowing himself how unnecessary this exam is in practical terms. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 165)

Internal Examinations During Pregnancy

.. You write that your wife [who is expecting] will be visiting the doctor next week:

Surely you will ask the doctor that if he desires to do a [routine] test it should not be via an internal examination, inasmuch as there is no purpose other than being kept informed [of her status], something that can be accomplished by urinalysis and the like.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 66)


In a follow-up to the above letter, the Rebbe writes:

.. As is self-understood, that which I wrote to you in my previous letter about trying to avoid an internal examination only applies during pregnancy, not before [she becomes pregnant] and not after she gives birth.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, p. 164)

Sonograms

The Rebbe was against routine sonograms “just to see the baby,” “just to make sure everything is okay,” “just routine.”

The Rebbe only agreed to a sonogram if, as a result of the sonogram, specific action might be taken (if acceptable according to halachah and safe), and even then, only after a second opinion confirmed that a sonogram was necessary.2

X-Rays During Pregnancy

You write about X-rays:

It sounds very strange that you are speaking of having X-rays taken during pregnancy. Rather, you should consult with the doctor about therapeutic massage and the like.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 220)

Allow a Pregnancy to Run Its Natural Course

.. In answer to your question:

Understandably, it is beneficial and correct to allow a [normal] pregnancy to reach its natural conclusion and not hasten the delivery before this time.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 7 Kislev, 5733)

Examination of a Woman by a Male Physician

.. With regard to your wife’s concern about being examined by a male physician:

I have yet to hear about being particular about this when it involves health matters. At most, determine whether there is a woman doctor who specializes in this area [of infertility].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 100)

Examination of a Patient By a Physician of the Same Gender

It is my opinion that with regard to the specialty of gynecology, it is worthwhile wherever possible that the physicians be women.

In addition to reasons of tznius, it leads to greater efficacy in choosing the most proper course of action. For it would seem to be more natural for a woman — rather than a man — to more easily and completely understand and feel the nature and feelings of another woman (and conversely with a male patient [and a male physician]).

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 23 Teves, 5748)


The Rebbe’s Blessing


The Rebbe’s Traditional Blessing

In almost all instances, the Rebbe would issue the following blessing upon notification that a couple was expecting a child:

May G‑d grant that your entire pregnancy proceed to a normal and easy completion, and that healthy and viable offspring be born full term of a regular and easy birth.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXIV, p. 773 )


Conduct During Pregnancy: Notifying Others


Wait Until the Fifth Month Before Publicizing the News

You are no doubt aware of the directive of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, that “until she enters the fifth month, do not publicize the news.”

As is implicit in his words, the emphasis here is on “publicizing” — as opposed to notifying those who are extremely close, not in a manner of publicity.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 2004 )


In reply to your question regarding the directive of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, not to publicize [the news of the pregnancy] until the woman enters the fifth month:

The intent of the directive is with regard to publicizing. However, it is self-understood that the doctor must be told, and that relatives and good friends may be told.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 209)


Special Conduct During the Time of Pregnancy


The Expectant Mother’s Conduct And Its Effect On the Child

.. Moreover, the conduct of the expectant mother during the time of her pregnancy has an effect on the child, which is why it is the custom of righteous women that — for the sake of their child — during the time of their pregnancy, they are much more scrupulous in refraining from impropermatters and much more scrupulous in the spiritual beautification and adornment of Torah and mitzvos.

(Hisvaaduyos 5747, Vol. II, p. 37)

Special Conduct for Both Husband and Wife

In reply to your letter in which you convey to me the good news that you have entered the second month — approximately — of your pregnancy:

Surely, as I have mentioned to ..., if at all possible you are not to publicize the news “until the fifth month” — to use the expression of my father-in-law, the Rebbe.

I would suggest [to you the following]:

a) Follow your doctors’ orders — those of whom you have already visited — regarding your diet, not overstraining yourself, etc.

b) Check all the mezuzos in your home and exchange the non-kosher ones for kosher ones.

c) Keep the fine custom of Jewish women of giving tzedakah to the fund of R. Meir Baal HaNes prior to lighting candles every erev Shabbos and erev Yom Tov.

d) Your husband, the Rav sheyichye, should continue reciting the daily portion of Tehillim (as it is divided by the days of the month) at least until after you give birth in a good and auspicious hour.

So, too, in the Prayer Before Retiring at Night, your husband should recite — prior to HaMapil — the 20th Psalm, Lamenatzeiach ... Yaancha. After he concludes that chapter, he should recite once again the second verse [beginning with the word] Yaancha, and have in mind that G‑d should consider it as if he had all the intentions (kavannos) that are to be thought of at that time.5

May G‑d grant you an easy pregnancy; may you carry to term and give birth in a regular and easy way to a healthy child.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VI, p. 104)

Check the Mezuzos and Give Tzedakah Every Weekday

.. With regard to your question about a special manner of conduct [during the term of pregnancy]:

I believe that I have already written to you that I have not heard that there are any [specific instructions].

However, in general terms, you should check the mezuzos of your home and also give a few cents to tzedakah every weekday morning. Understandably, this is in addition to the tzedakah that your wife surely gives prior to lighting candles every erev Shabbos and erev Yom Tov.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 303)