Can You Go to a Funeral When Pregnant? Complete Answer


With so many different superstitions and beliefs regarding funerals, it can be challenging to keep track of them. So, many people wonder if it’s okay to attend a funeral when pregnant. Let’s look at the superstitions and religious beliefs regarding pregnant people and funerals. 

You can go to a funeral when pregnant as long as you are not overly stressed or your religious beliefs don’t prevent you from going. Every situation is unique, so check with your doctor to ensure you can have a safe experience. 

Let’s go into the details about attending a funeral when pregnant and look at the options to discover what might be best for you. 

Why Would Pregnant People Want To Avoid Funerals?

Pregnant people may want to avoid funerals due to religious beliefs, superstitions, stress, and other medical reasons. Thankfully, many of these reasons can be avoided or worked around if someone special to you has passed.

So, let’s take a closer look at the reasons both past and present for pregnant people to avoid funerals. Some of these reasons are still valid, while some have been disproven or even forgotten. 

Religious Beliefs

Quite a few religions believe that pregnant people should avoid funerals or any interaction with a dead body for various reasons. 

These limitations aren’t surprising, considering that most religions focus on what they believe happens after death. So, many religious teachings warn about being near a dead body, especially when pregnant, as this combines new life and death. 

One example of religion with strong beliefs regarding pregnant people attending funerals is Judaism. In Jewish culture, many people believe many negative energies are tied to death, while pregnancy represents positivity and new life. These don’t mesh well together, and in some cases, people may believe that attending a funeral while pregnant could attract the evil eye. 

The evil eye in Jewish culture brings harm or bad luck to an individual. Judaism says that being pregnant and going to a funeral or even just being near a dead body can draw the attention of the evil eye. So, attending the funeral may bring harm or misfortune to the mother or the child. So, they tend to avoid it. 

Similar to Judaism, Christianity has rules regarding pregnancy and attending funerals. Many Christians of various sects believe that a pregnant person viewing a dead body will cause the child to be stillborn or look dead at birth. That means that the child may be born with pale skin or other features that the deceased carry. 

Another, more intense, example of the belief that pregnant people should avoid funerals comes from the Iroquois culture. Some Iroquois believe that unborn children exposed to a dead body will want to return to the spirit world with the deceased. The Iroquois believe that the unborn child will return to the spirit world, causing a miscarriage or stillbirth. 

Superstitions about Death

There are many superstitions regarding the deceased. Whether they originate in fear, religion, or misinformation, superstitions about pregnancy and funerals are still found all over even today. 

The religions we talked about above are just a few that teach the dangers of combining death and new life. With Judaism and Christianity both being prevalent religions, it’s not surprising that some of their teachings have been passed down as superstitions, sometimes even by those who aren’t part of those religions. 

As we know, religion isn’t the only place that superstitions come from. Sometimes they’re passed down through theories or misunderstandings regarding science. As we learn more about dead bodies and the lack of danger they pose, it seems almost silly now to avoid them in an attempt to protect our health. 

While there’s still room for superstitions in our society, it’s essential to move past them once we receive new information. So, pregnant people avoiding funerals for superstitious reasons is a somewhat outdated reason to avoid saying goodbye to a loved one.

The Stress of a Funeral May Cause Complications in Pregnancy

Stress is one medical reason that pregnant people may want to avoid a funeral. Stress is a familiar feeling, especially during pregnancy. The actual danger of stress to pregnant people is present at high levels. So, attending or planning a funeral may not be the best for the health of a pregnant person. 

Stressful life events can significantly impact your pregnancy and the overall health of you and your baby. When we think of these events, our mind tends to go to the loss of a job or even divorce, but death is another example of an adverse life event that can cause stress. 

Attending a funeral is often a sad and mournful experience, but it can also be very stressful. Not only is planning a funeral tough but attending and coming to terms with a loss can be very difficult for anyone to process. So, expectant mothers who foresee a lot of stress coming from going to a funeral may want to skip it and stay home for the sake of their health. 

There are many ways that stress can cause issues with pregnancy. First, it’s worth noting that there’s no scientific evidence that stress alone can cause a miscarriage. However, it’s still important to consider other things that stress can do to your physical and mental health, especially during pregnancy. 

Stress can lead to difficulties with eating and sleeping, and it can even cause high blood pressure. Each of these issues poses a risk to a healthy parent and baby. So, if you think that any of these symptoms may become an issue because of the funeral or while you’re mourning, then you may need to reconsider attending the funeral. 

Medical Reasons

There’s a lot that we have only learned recently about death. A common misconception passed down through generations is that you can contract diseases and illnesses through contact with a dead body. Because of this belief, pregnant people often avoided funerals to avoid being exposed to the dead body of their loved ones. 

There’s currently no scientific evidence supporting the idea that dead bodies are dangerous to us. The somewhat outdated belief that dead bodies could transfer airborne diseases to people around them was called the Miasma Theory. However, this theory existed long before it had a name. 

The idea that dead bodies could bring illness upon those around them dates back to ancient Greek and Roman medicine. Under this theory, people believed that people “stained” by death were ritually unclean, which prevented them from entering temples and performing religious rites. Only after ritual cleansing could people resume their normal religious activities. 

Miasma wasn’t just a result of being close to a deceased person, though. According to the Ancient Mediterraneans, birth, bloodshed (such as a menstrual period), and murder also caused Miasma. 

Combining pregnancy and death doubled your impurity, which pulled you farther away from the protection of the gods. As a result, people suspected that you were more likely to suffer an illness if you were pregnant and attended a funeral. 

Until more recent years, so much was left unanswered about airborne illnesses and death. It led to a lot of fear and mystery surrounding death and disease. So, theories that people could catch infections from the deceased ran wild due to lack of research. 

Because of the lack of research and overall mystery surrounding death and disease, people passed down the idea that pregnant people shouldn’t attend a funeral. This idea kept mother and baby as safe as possible from any airborne diseases back then. Of course, nowadays, we know better. 

We now know that many diseases don’t remain in the body after someone dies. That means that people, pregnant or not, aren’t putting themselves at risk of a disease or infection by being at a funeral or near their deceased loved ones. 

Despite science touting the lack of risk for disease, some outdated information and beliefs have survived. 

Woman in mourning clothes standing above headstone

Why Would a Pregnant Person Attend a Funeral?

A pregnant person might attend a funeral to say goodbye to their loved one, support others during a difficult time, or get support from others to help with grief. Attending a funeral can help bring peace during a time of loss. 

With all of the superstitions and religious warnings about attending a funeral while pregnant, you may be wondering why they’d still choose to go. Whether you’re just curious or are pregnant and wondering what you should do, there are many reasons to attend a funeral despite the taboo. So, let’s break down some reasons why pregnant people may still choose to go to a funeral despite the taboo nature. 

To Say Goodbye

A funeral is a unique opportunity to say goodbye to our loved ones who have passed away. Missing that opportunity may not be best for us in the long run. While grief may not play as significant a role in funerals as we like to think, we tend to remember them as positive, healing experiences. 

Creating positive memories around a time of grief and stress is vital for all of us, and pregnant people are no exception. If you’ve lost a loved one and are pregnant, it may be best to consider attending the funeral despite the taboo attitude toward it. A funeral is the last chance to say goodbye to our loved ones and see them at peace one last time. 

Creating a positive final memory of your loved one can do wonders for your emotions and ability to move forward. Having a positive experience may help with your overall stress and health during the pregnancy. So, attending the funeral may be worth it. 

To Be There for Others

Another valid reason for attending a funeral despite being pregnant is to be there for others who may be struggling with the loss. If you’re not avoiding the funeral for religious reasons or to avoid being overly stressed, then you may want to consider attending to be there for those who may need your support. 

There’s nothing wrong with attending a funeral to support a loved one who may need it, and this is a common reason for attending funerals as not everyone in attendance will be close to the deceased. Pregnancy can be difficult, especially when a lot of stress is involved, but being there for the ones we love is an integral part of life.

So, if you can attend the funeral without putting yourself or the baby at risk, then there’s no harm in being there for a loved one in their time of need. Sometimes all you need to do to help is physically be there. If there’s no health or spiritual risk involved, then there’s nothing wrong with being there for someone else who’s struggling. 

Get Support From Others

A funeral is a day to grieve and remember the deceased. While it can be stressful, it’s also an excellent time for families to get together and support each other during a difficult time. Sometimes what helps us the most is being around our family and allowing them to help us through the grief. 

As we discussed above, it’s essential to be there for our loved ones when they’re going through the grief of losing someone close to them. It’s the same in reverse, too. Sometimes we need to allow friends and family to support us and be there for us during a challenging time. A funeral is the perfect gathering to connect with loved ones and reminisce with them. 

If there are no religious or health reasons holding you back from a funeral, then consider the benefit of being around those you love while trying to process your grief. If you believe that’ll help you be less stressed and cope more easily with the loss, then it’s worth considering. 

Final Thoughts

Going to a funeral while pregnant has been a divisive issue for a long time, but the more we find out about death, the less we see the risk. There have been many theories and superstitions about the risk of being near dead bodies, but we know it’s no longer a risk thanks to more scientific evidence. 

If you’re pregnant, carefully consider whether or not you want to attend a funeral before you make the decision. Remember, this isn’t something you’ll have another opportunity to experience. So, choose carefully and consider how you’ll feel in the future. 

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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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