Fasting Question: If I go into labor on Tuesday or Wednesday


… am I excused from the Ash Wednesday fast? I mean, aside from not being allowed to eat while in labor… if I have the baby on Tuesday, should I fast the following day, or should I eat to get my strength up?

I’m going in to be induced on Tuesday afternoon. Last time, this took a couple of days before labor actually started. So, the baby could come any time from Tuesday to Thursday. Can I just focus on my health and energy, or should I put fasting first?


The sick and nursing mothers are exempted from fasting. I’m sure that applies to mothers in labor as well. Eat as allowed by your doctor or midwife to keep up your strength. You should have no problem abstaining from meat though.


What if the food available isn’t very Lent-friendly? There’s not a cafeteria like in America, but a sorta hotplate situation set up with a couple of entrees and sides. What if both entrees have meat and the sides are wimpy like peas and carrots?

There will probably be a meat-free option, but what if there isn’t?


why don’t you just bring your own food just incase this happens and if the doc says you can’t eat it then have your husband go get you something else from the hospital that is both ok to eat for the doc and also will be filling! good luck god bless and i will pray for the two of you!


You are not required to keep the fast or abstinence. period…eat what the hospital provides. You have enough to offer up and sacrifice right after labor and delivery and with having a newborn. You must eat to keep up your strength and esp if you plan to breastfeed.


This is completely true.


Not just SICK and nursing mothers, Seatuck, but PREGNANT mothers as well. Hopeful in UK - you aren’t at all bound by the fast, and in your case it would be unwise to try to fast. You need your strength for the delivery and afterward as well, esp the protein.

Don’t worry about abstaining either - eat the meat if that’s what offered. You won’t be sinning in any way.
"Those who are excused from fast or abstinence: Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment…"


It seems like I’m always pregnant or nursing during Lent and I feel guilty for not fasting and abstaining… This time I even have a mild sense of guilt for getting an epidural if I labor on Ash Wednesday. I keep thinking that it would be better to suffer and offer it up - and I even know some women believe that the Bible says women are meant to suffer in childbirth, but I figure that’s extreme.

It would be better if I were like that - If I could forgo pain medication and fast and abstain all with an aim to offer up my suffering. I may not be obligated to, but if I don’t even try, I feel like I’m not loving God enough.

I say this as someone who really, really hates the pains of childbirth and is desperate for an epidural pretty early on in labor… I’m not one of those people who ever even considers natural childbirth.


Being pregnant and breastfeeding is the ultimate in self-sacrifice. You don’t need to do more. You don’t need to feel guilty. There is no need to go through labor and delivery w/out an epidural. There is no moral imperative for you to labor in pain. You are dispensed from food fasting and abstinence. No guilt!

If you must give something up, give up tv or sweet snacks, but there is no NEED for you to do anything more. If you still have this guilt I suggest you take it to a good, holy priest, because it’s not healthy.

God bless and congrats on your upcoming birth!


Maybe you could offer to God your sense of failure (which is really no failure at all, but you still feel it) and your obedience to your doctors as an act of humility. The more we realize our smallness before God, the better. Often, it’s better to admit our weakness than to try being heroic, which can lead to pride.

God bless you and your child during labor and delivery!



This is absolutely, positively correct and excellent advice.

God bless you and the expected new little one.


Yes, thank you . I don’t know how I left out pregnant… :shrug:


Pregnant women (or someone with medical conditions) are excused from the rules of fast and abstaining.


Thanks for all the reassurance! I just felt guilty because I was all “woo-hoo! I can get out of the fasting!” I will remember to offer up my sense of failure. :wink:


I’ve always heard that pregnant women were not required to fast. Don’t worry about it! :thumbsup:


I didn’t go into labor for a few days, but I expected to every day so I ate - meat and everything - every day in anticipation to keep my strength up. Once you start labor, they don’t let you eat (in case you need anesthesia.) So, I did fast for a few hungry hours while giving birth. :wink:

I remembered to offer it all up, too.


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