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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q8.9 TOC Q8.11 >

Question 8.10:
Are there any rituals for purification after childbirth for women?


A woman who gives birth has the status of a Niddah (a menstruant) who is both ritually impure and off-limits as far as intimate activity to her husband. The act of giving birth induces a special nidus state unrelated to the uterine bleeding that normally separates husband and wife. This special nidus extends for seven days after the birth of a son and fourteen days after the birth of a daughter. Since it is most unusual for a woman to stain for less than two weeks after childbirth, this special nidus has little practical application, except in some cases of cesarean delivery. The ritual after the end of the period is the same as in normal Niddah status: immersion in a mikveh.

During the time of the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple) there was an obligation to bring a korban (offering) forty days after the birth of a boy or eighty days after the birth of a girl. As to why the purification for the birth of a female is longer, the belief is that this is because since a female herself is capable of producing life, she is capable of imparting more ritual purity as well as impurity.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>