Looking After Your Hair 'Down There'- Does it Matter for Birth?

Pubic hair grooming and shaving for birth and labour

YES, WE’RE TALKING PUBIC HAIR GROOMING!

By: Michelle Mayefske

Wax, trim, shave or nothing at all? Seen only during the most intimate of moments, the issue of pubic hair grooming can bring up feelings of anxiety or embarrassment for expectant mothers who feel their bodies will be on display during birth.

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER…

WHAT ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH?

Some parents-to-be decide to do what they have always done prior and during pregnancy because they feel most comfortable and clean that way. Keep in mind the closer you get to pregnancy, the more difficult working around your bump will become if you are opting to trim or shave. You may need to consider having a partner help you. Some expectant mums cringe at the thought of their partner running a razor along their most sensitive bits so that makes the decision for them! Opting for what you are most comfortable with may help reduce some anxiety and help you enter labour feeling your best.

WHAT WILL OTHERS THINK?

Birth professionals, including obstetricians, midwives, nurses, doulas and more honestly don’t care what your nether regions look like. Their main priority is the emotional and physical health of you and your baby. They are assessing you both, looking for your baby’s head, encouraging you to push if/when needed and more. Your pubic hair is of no concern. If you are worried about what others might think remember this: birth workers have seen it all- from completely waxed to au naturel. Beliefs about pubic hair are personal and whatever feels right for you is what you should do.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT HAIR REMOVAL AND BIRTH?

We know that having pubic hair does NOT mean you are unclean and it does not increase your risk of infection. It also doesn’t impede the birth process. Having pubic hair actually serves a purpose- it helps maintain a healthy microbiome, it keeps pathogens- bad bacteria- out and has other functions.

Any time you shave with a razor, small cuts invisible to the naked eye are left behind. These micro-cuts have the potential to become infected during a vaginal or caesarean birth. This is one of the reasons some hospitals recommend that people not shave close to birth. The recommendation on when you should shave varies- some say no later than 37 weeks while others say 48 hours is fine!

Waxing is the way to go for some expectant mums. Do keep in mind that during pregnancy you have an increase in blood volume and your hormones fluctuate regularly, which can make waxing more painful than usual. You may want to try waxing a small area before deciding to go ahead.

Ultimately, this is a decision that is completely yours!