In general, a niddah should not postpone immersion.

According to current universal custom, after observing a disqualifying stain, a niddah must observe 7 clean days before immersion, whereas a tehorah must wait at least 5 days before observing 7 clean days.

Consider these two scenarios:

  1. Rochel finishes counting 7 clean days, and diligently immerses that night. The next morning she finds a disqualifying stain, and must wait at least 5 + 7 = 12 days in order to immerse again.
  2. Leah finishes counting 7 clean days, and laxly postpones her immersion. The next morning she finds a disqualifying stain, and must wait only 7 days in order to immerse again.

Why is the diligent being punished?

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    Because sometimes, life isn't fair? // Is Leah required to keep doing bedikot and taking other measures that make finding such a stain more likely? In that case, it's quite possible that the same stain that would make Leah count another 7 days would be undetected by Rochel, so she'd wait 0 days. – Isaac Moses Dec 29 '14 at 16:18
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    @IsaacMoses Leah is NOT required to continue bedikos. See last line of first link: "If one has finished counting the shivah neki'im but is postponing immersion, it is no longer necessary to wear white underwear or do bedikot." – Adám Dec 29 '14 at 16:21
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    What causes a concern to wait 5 days is only relevant for a Tehora. It isn't a קנס. – Yishai Dec 29 '14 at 18:37
  • Note that 5 days is not a universal custom. Plenty of non-Ashkenazim do not have that practice. – Double AA Feb 9 '15 at 6:26
  • @DoubleAA That is news to me. Can you tell me what other practice there is out there? Less than 5 days? Some other criteria? – Adám Feb 9 '15 at 18:10

The diligent is not being punished. The waiting 5 days is not a result of being tehora - it is a result of having cohabited with (or having been able to cohabit with) her husband, and therefore having a concern of discharging shichvas zera, which invalidates the counting of those days. The woman who went to mikvah has a concern of discharge, and the other woman does not. It is not a result of being tehorah, even if it is a consequence.

Someone who consumed meat for their Yom Tov seudah cannot have a glass of milk, while someone who did not have meat can. The one who consumed meat is not being punished for having made a nicer Yom Tov meal (assuming they both like meat) - he is merely subject to the consequences of having eaten meat, which is incidental to the mitzvah of seudas Yom Tov. This is the same thing.

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    Note further that if a Niddah did sleep with her husband during the seven clean days she'd have to wait five days to resume her count. – Double AA Dec 30 '14 at 4:38
  • @DoubleAA Really? What is the source for that? – Adám Dec 30 '14 at 15:06
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    @NBZ same source as the waiting 5 days before starting - poletes shichvas zera can't start counting because the Sh"Z is soseir yomo. It will be soseir yomo in the middle just as well as at the beginning. – Y     e     z Dec 30 '14 at 18:27

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