Is it allowed for pregnant women to go to temples?
If it's not allowed, what are the restrictions?
And are those restrictions based on scriptures or are they just traditions that have been followed for ages?
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I will be surprised if one can find direct references to your question in scriptures. At least, there is nothing in the Vedas, Smritis and the Agamas.
So, it remains only to see if the PurAnas and the ItihAsas have something in them or not.
I am answering your question with an indirect reference, which says, a woman should be allowed to go to temples till the last month of her pregnancy.
From Bhairvai Tantram:
StrinAm Garbhavatinancha Naivya Dushanam Na KuryAddasame MAsi KritvA Cha Naraki Bhavet |
There is no prohibition for pregnant women [getting initiated (taking mantra dikshA)] but if taken on the tenth month the woman goes to hell.
So, if a woman is considered pure for the purpose of DikshA (which is the first and foremost among all rituals) for all months of pregnancy except the tenth, then she should be allowed to do any other religious activities like visiting temples, doing daily worship etc in those months.
But, of course, whether she feels like going to temples (because of her health condition) is another important thing to be taken into account.
NOTe- This is an indirect answer. So you should wait for more direct answers from scriptures.
Dr. Vaddiparti Padmakar says in Dharma Sandehalu program:
Pregnant women after 5 months should not go to the temples. The reason behind this is health issue. Many temples used to have steps and are situated on a hill top. If she visits such temples it may effect the health of the mother and baby in the womb. After 5 months, a woman's feet get numb and sometimes they might not be able to walk properly. So, women are not generally not allowed to visit temples due to health problems.
But if the woman is healthy and the temple is very near and if there is no problem in going, then she can visit up to 7 months but should not offer oblations, shouldn't perform circumambulations and other actions which involve physical strain. Other reason is that the temples have powerful yantras under the idol. Adults like us doesn't have negative effect but they are too powerful for babies in the womb. Hence, it is not recommended for pregnant women to visit temples after 5 months. They should not visit temples after 7 months.
But there is no restrictions to do simple poojas and listen to religious discourses and purana stories in their home itself.
He says it is said in Shukra Niti that a pregnant woman is not allowed after 7 months and in Brihaspati smriti it is said that a pregnant woman is not allowed after 5 months.