Real answers from a labor nurse

I get the question FREQUENTLY about how to shave while pregnant — and how to perform safe hair removal.  Especially how do you shave your pubic or leg hair during pregnancy. Can you use a cream, can you wax?  How do you maintain?  What’s best to do before delivery and also when can you shave after delivery?

Yup, today we’re talking hair, and not the hair on your head. 😉  Hopefully, you’re only reading this post if you’re wanting to hear about it — but, a lot of people have his question — so let’s get started!

So, if you’re wondering why on EARTH you should take my advice (and you should always wonder that)…

Hi, I’m Hilary I’m the curly head here around Pulling Curls, but a lot of people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse. I have 20 years of labor and delivery experience, and I’ve been a nurse since 1997. I am also the creator of The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. I can’t tell you HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE BEEN ASKED THIS QUESTION — usually via text or whispered at dinner. And, since I’ve seen thousands of legs (and other parts) at birth I’m an expert on this.

I even have a podcast on the subject:

BUT if you’re looking to know ALL the details about your birth don’t miss The Online Prenatal Class for Couples where we get you prepared (and FEELING prepared too) for your birth! It’s the birth class created to be quick, fun and within your budget!

Shaving While Pregnant

We’re going to talk about ALL The facets of shaving any unwanted hair on any parts of your body while pregnant, and at the end, I’ll give the honest opinion of your health providers when you’re “baring it all” down under, and if we care if you have pubic hair.

If there’s a particular subject you’re interested in choose it here:

How to Shave Your Pubic Area While Pregnant

It is completely safe to shave while you’re pregnant.  But, pregnancy does pose some issues with shaving (especially your “private area”):

Problems with shaving your bikini area during pregnancy:

Your pubic area has extra blood flow from being pregnant and the pressure that pregnancy puts on that area (which is why people love these).  Which means:

  • You may bleed more if you nick and it may take longer to heal.
  • It may hurt more when you use a procedure – like waxing, epilating, etc.
  • You may react differently (creating skin irritation) because of all this — PLUS the hormones.
  • Your hair may grow faster, or different because of those lovely hormones!

So, your regular “routine” may not work when you’re pregnant.

Also, as you head into the end of pregnancy things may get a bit damp down there {here’s my post on discharge during pregnancy}.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going au natural during your pregnancy.

Pro tip: Talk with your provider on this subject if you have any complications with your pregnancy. They may have things they don’t want you doing for specific reasons just for you! For instance, any infections will change how you take care of things “down there”.

Pubic hair growing during pregnancy

There is a medical reason why your hair seems different.

Pubic hair growth, as well as the hair itself, may change during pregnancy.  All of that is normal.  You probably notice something similar on your head as well.  After the hormones are gone your hair will likely go back to normal. Hair follicles are affected by hormones (both up top and down below).

Also, the hair growth cycle will change (and the hairs may change with it).

How to shave your private parts during pregnancy

When I get the question, if you plan to shave — I recommend the this razor.  Mostly because it is COVERED by some sort of soap/gel/shave stuff that makes it REALLY hard to nick yourself or have ingrown hairs, etc. Make sure you’re using a new blade, as you’re more likely to nick with older blades.

Whatever you use, make sure to use plenty of foam/soap or whatever you use to make it more gentle.

Another option is to use electric shavers. Your chance of getting cut is less (but it doesn’t shave as close).

Pregnancy mirror for shaving

If you want a bit more vision — something like this might be helpful to see it all.  Although, make sure the lock on your bathroom door works if you have kids at home.  #awkward. 🙂

There are also razor extenders to lend a helping hand.

Laser Hair Removal During Pregnancy

There are no long term studies as to if this could affect the baby, so most providers recommend NOT doing this during your pregnancy, but maybe call your local center (if you’ve done it before — pregnancy is NOT a time to start this, because of all the reasons I previously mentioned) and see what they think.

I have a whole post on laser hair removal during pregnancy on my sister site.

Why you shouldn’t shave pubic hair while pregnant

I’ve seen some current research saying it increases infection rates, but I haven’t heard anything about asking people NOT to shave. However you do it, make sure that you wash the area afterwards with your regular body soap (antibacterial soap should be saved for hospital use or a pre-surgical prep).

Something else to think about:

God gave women pubic hair for a reason.  Part of the reason is that it keeps “bad stuff” out of your urethra (otherwise known as your pee hole).

If you get frequent uti’s (also called bladder infections or urinary tract infections), I would 100% recommend NOT shaving during pregnancy, maybe that’s part of your problem?

This all being said, there are a lot of home hair removal methods that will likely be fine.

Shaving legs while pregnant

I still love that intuition razor for legs while pregnant.  As your belly grows, you’ll have less vision of everything below your baby bump, so safety should be your #1.  Something like this may extend your reach (I just think it might be easier to cut yourself with that).

Also, husbands can be great to shave legs, I have heard a lot of women who use that route.

Shaving your face while pregnant

This is ONE area it’s not harder to reach. However, you may react differently than you have in the past, so be aware of that if you are wanting to get rid of facial hair.

Shaving stomach while pregnant

I guess this gets googled.  I haven’t seen it.  You may grow more hair on your belly when you’re pregnant, and that’s normal.  I wouldn’t shave it though — I think it will just make it feel rougher. If you get a particularly long one, you could always use tweezers to pluck it.

Hair growth should go back to normal after the baby.

Hair removal creams during pregnancy

Ok, let’s talk creams.

First off, a cream “down there” makes me nervous and personally, I’ve never tried it.

I do NOT think that pregnancy is a great time to START using something like Nair, or other depilatory creams.

If you’ve been using a hair removal cream before pregnancy I’d just use it with caution.  Just keep in mind what I said before, that your skin may react differently. You have a higher chance of an allergic reaction during pregnancy.

In rare cases this could be REALLY problematic and possibly lead to health complications if the allergic reaction is severe.

Shaving if you’re in preterm labor/bedrest

I wouldn’t put shaving ahead of your baby’s health.  Let it grow, you can take care of it after the baby.

Also, if you were to nick something important “down there”, you may have increased preterm labor problems.  I’d just refrain from it.  But that’s me.

induction mini class available now

Waxing while pregnant

A lot of women still get a Brazilian wax while they’re pregnant, but I’d call the spa you use to make sure they will do bikini waxes on pregnant women.  Be sure you’re going to a reputable salon that uses clean wax and clean technique.

Waxing before delivery

If you’ve been doing it during pregnancy that’s fine.  I would not wax right before delivery if you haven’t been waxing lately.  It’s just too risky that your body won’t react well and you’ll be in a LOT of pain.

Pregnancy is NOT the first time to go waxing.

If you’re going for a C-section, we will shave the top part of your pubic region hair (just above your bikini line) before surgery.  It’s part of our job and we would MUCH rather do it vs you hurting yourself doing it.

Shaving after birth

I would give yourself some time to heal a bit after delivery and certainly, don’t shave in the vaginal area until your 6 weeks are up, just like vaginal rest. It would definitely increase your chance of infection before that area is totally healed-up.

Shaving While Breastfeeding

Honestly, I can’t see this as too much of an issue unless it’s nipple hair, but you can always ask a lactation consultant.

Ok, time for the big question… the one every whispers to me…

woman shaving

Should I Shave my Pubic Hair Before Giving Birth?

As you get closer to your due date it is normal to wonder this question. Often around 38 weeks of pregnancy, many women find this question quite pressing.

No, it is 100% up to you. It does NOT MATTER!

I want to state this categorically.  There is NO reason to avoid healthcare or seeing a doctor because you aren’t shaved/waxed/clean down there.

A lot of different nationalities/cultures have different feelings on that area of the body and shaving in general. It really is a personal choice.

When I worked in CA very few people shaved their pubic hair.

In Arizona, more do it, but probably not the majority.

And I don’t care.  At all.

The good news is that we also realize that it’s an almost impossible task to do it like you used to!

Sometimes, if the doctor plans to give you an episiotomy, he will cut some of your hair so that it makes for easier/safer sewing up — but it’s not a big deal at all.

I have a slogan I always say — “You’ve seen one vagina, you’ve seen them all” — and frankly, it’s pretty true. They all look pretty similar and as soon as I leave the room I basically forget what it looked like because I’ll just be seeing another one in a few minutes.

We really look at vaginas in a very different way than normal people and we mostly just want you comfortable and happy. 🙂

But, let’s be honest — there’s likely a WHOLE lot that you’re not feeling confident about when it comes to delivery day. Can I just ask you to check out The Online Prenatal Class for Couples?

Shaving During Pregnancy FAQ’s:

What is the best way to shave during pregnancy?

While it depends a LOT on personal preference, the safest way to shave is likely with an electric shaver as it’s the least likely to cause irritation, nicks or cuts.

Do they shave you at the time of birth?

We do shave the top of your pubic hair prior to a cesarean section (to prevent ingrown hairs in the incision area and infection) but no shaving is done prior to a vaginal birth.

Do I need to shave my other body parts?

All of that is up to you — arms, legs, belly, underpits are all shaven according to personal preference. Full hair growth has no risks (or benefits) that we are aware of. Go au naturel if you want!

When should I stop shaving?

There is no firm weeks of gestation rule in which you should stop shaving at a certain point. It is a matter of preference, but make sure it’s YOUR preference, not for your providers or anyone else.

Will shaving stop my odor down there?

It is normal for your lady bits to have a distinct odor, don’t worry about it, it’s normal and you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Shaving may help (or sometimes hurt) that situation.

Are there issues with shaving?

There can be health complications like infection, or an increase in bladder infections (UTI’s) especially with pubic hair removal.

When do most people stop shaving?

I’d guess before the eight month of pregnancy.

In just three hours you can be prepped and ready to go! And yes, having your mind ready is WAY more important than shaving your lady bits. Save 10% with coupon code SHAVE. If you like this kind of open, frank and honest advice — check out the class.

The best-priced prenatal class online

Or, if you’re not quite ready for the full class, don’t forget my free prenatal class — It’s your first step towards being your own birth boss.

Originally Posted Here

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