--> Skip to main content

Impurity Attached To Birth In Hinduism

In Hinduism, impurity attached to birth lasts for any number of days up to ten; people do not take the milk of a cow for ten nights when a calf is born. Abortion in the first four months of pregnancy is called srava, abortion in the fifth or the sixth month is called pata and from the seventh month of pregnancy onwards it is called prasuti or prasava. When there is srava, the mother incurs impurity for three days, and in the case of pata the mother has to observe impurity for as many days as would correspond to the months of pregnancy. The impurity consists in the mother being ‘untouchable’. The father alone has to bathe when there is srava, but when there is pata the father and the relatives (sapindas) are rendered impure for three days.

But when the fetus comes out dead in any month from the seventh or the child is still-born, then the impurity is for ten days for both parents and three days for close relatives (samanodakas) and one day for sagotras. The mother is untouchable for ten days on birth or abortion in the seventh, eighth or the ninth month, but when the father and sapinda relatives take bath after delivery, they are not ‘untouchable’.

Although a woman becomes ‘touchable’ in ten days after delivery, she is not fit to take part in religious rites for twenty days after she becomes ‘touchable’.

If a woman has her confinement at her father’s or brother’s house, then her parents and her brothers staying with the father have to observe asaucha for one day, but if a woman delivers a child at her husband’s house then neither her father nor her brother is subject to asaucha.

These rules are no longer followed by the Hindu community.