Do you shave or wax your pubic hair for labor?

Pregnancy Woman in Bathtub
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Shaving for birth used to be something that the nurses did to you when you arrived at the hospital. As doctors and midwives realized that there might be a purpose for pubic hair in preventing infection, this practice died quickly. The majority of women were really relieved. Many had felt embarrassed by being shaved, or really disliked the painful, itchy experience of it growing back.

Now the question is starting to come up again in the birth - the practice of shaving.

But now, women have begun to take the razors or wax strips into their own hands. Some women are choosing to either pay to have a bikini or Brazilian wax done prior to birth. This is also something that more women may be doing even when they are not pregnant, and are simply continuing a practice started well before they got pregnant. Some also claim that pubic hair bothers them when viewed by others. For other women, this is not something done specifically for the birth but in general.

Proponents of this practice claim that the area is neater and easier to keep clean in the postpartum. If there are sutures from a cesarean or even a repair of the perineum, hair that has been removed may grow back and get stuck in the sutures. This is something that many mothers worry about. Other moms don't find that to be an issue at all, particularly if the hair is merely taken down, and not completely shaved.

 

Bikini Waxing

A bikini wax generally removes excess hair around the mons pubis, which is where the majority of pubic hair is located, and the stray pubic hair that may grow outside of the area covered by a bikini, hence the term bikini line. The Brazilian wax removes all the hair on the mons pubis, labia, etc.

While some women don't want to go as far as a Brazilian wax or even a bikini wax, there are some who choose to trim the longer or stray hairs in preparation for labor. This can be difficult in the later months of pregnancy, simply because it's so hard to see around your pregnant belly. You can go to a fancy spa and get some help, invite your partner to help or take your chances! Trimming can be a preferred option because the hair is not painful or itching as it grows back.

Is it safe to get a Brazilian wax while pregnant?

It is generally considered to be safe to get a Brazilian wax while pregnant. While your skin may be more sensitive, and you should always tell your technician that you are pregnant, even if you think it's obvious, there is no medical reason to avoid a Brazilian.

Why did we stop shaving for birth?

As for the science behind the shaving and waxing, it was found that there is a small decrease in maternal infection rates when hair on the perineum is left in place, this is what would also be removed during a Brazilian wax.

This is one of the reasons that many hospitals abandoned the practice altogether.

So for those of you who want to trim and clip or remove hair around the bikini line, you're safe and not increasing your risk of infection (assuming you don't cut yourself). For those of you who are still anti-shaving - you're fine too. The good news is that whatever you chose to do is acceptable. You are the only one you have to please.

Read more: Will I have a bowel movement in labor?

Source:

Basevi V, Lavender T. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(1):CD001236. Routine perineal shaving on admission in labour.

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