Rav Moshe Shternbuch On Inducing Childbirth


rav-moshe-shternbuchIn a very unequivocal teshuvah (1:894), Rav Moshe Shternbuch says that one should not induce labor “chas veshalom.” Hashem has scheduled the baby to come out exactly at the right time and it should not be¬†influenced by a doctor’s schedule. The additional time may help the baby complete development of its body or mind. Additionally, the baby’s mazel is dependent on its coming out at the appropriate time.

Rav Shternbuch says in the name of the Arizal that one should not write a kemeiya for a woman to speed childbirth, because it can alter the baby’s mazel and cause it a life of poverty, pain and early death., r”l.

He quotes the Igros Moshe (Yoreh Deah 2:74) who says that all childbirth is life threatening. Although bringing yourself into a life threatening situation is not permitted, since it is the nature of the world, it is permitted for a woman to conceive. However, to induce labor before the natural time is tampering with nature and it is prohibited to put yourself in this dangerous predicament.

If the doctor says that it is dangerous to the mother or the baby to wait, then it is certainly permitted to take the baby out by any means. The above discussion applies to situations where that is not the case.

 {Revach.net/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. In our family, we always tell the story of an aunt that wanted to ‘arrange’ for Sunday brissim to better accomodate family arriving from out of town.
    well, her first three children were indeed induced on Sundays. And they were all GIRLS!
    finally, on her fourth pregnancy she realized not to play “G-D”: and she did NOT induce. The result: A BOY born on Shabbos!

  2. This is a halacha issue that every couple should ask a Rov for the guidelines of when and when not it is mutar to induce. In general, I think matzav or any web site should not be publishing halacha issues, certainly not a sensitive issue as this.

  3. machsovos,
    rav shternbach is stating what the halacha is for the general populours.
    if there are “circumstances” then you need to ask a Rav.
    If it’s just a “I want a sunday bris”
    see above halachic ruling.

  4. The problem with this psak and the Igros Moshe quotes is that people who should be induced are not induced because they want to be yotzeh this shitah lechatchilah. It is wrong to promulgate it because people are frummies and risk their lives and their child’s lives. Bedidi havay maaseh and I have seen it dozens of times. The disclaimer at the end just doesn’t do it. The same problem exists with “chometz” life saving medicine. We are dumb frummies and we risk our lives because of these psakim

  5. This is a very distorted article. First of all, the Rav was VERY equivocal (“In a very unequivocal teshuvah ….”)about his psak, saying that it depends on the situation. Second, he could not possibly have said that one needs a halachic heter ( it’s assur, but because it’s derech it becomes mutar) to conceive, that flies in the face of all common sense. What the Rav probably meant was that women and physicians should not induce labor solely for their convenience.