Should you shave down there before labour?

The presence, or absence of pubic hair ahead of birth leaves many expectant moms wondering what they should do. Midwife Pippa Hime discusses whether you should enter the delivery room with or without your pubic hair.

Huddled quietly in the corner of the doctor’s waiting room, expectant moms find themselves asking other moms just what exactly they should be doing when it comes to intimate grooming ahead of birth. Some say you should, and some say you shouldn’t. So, who is right?

The removal of pubic hair from the vulva and perineum ahead of birth by either waxing or shaving is a highly debatable topic. So, what are the benefits and risks associated with hair removal before birth?

ALSO SEE: Birth and your vagina – what really happens?

Benefits of hair removal before labour:

  • Shaving, or at least trimming, keeps the area less sweaty and cleaner overall.
  • It provides for a good visualisation for the doctor or midwife of the perineum. If they need to do an episiotomy, the area is clean shaven, which makes stitching easier.
  • It is useful in the weeks after birth if there is less hair when it comes to heavy vaginal bleeding and personal hygiene.
  • If you end up needing a caesarian section then the area is already prepped for the incision line.

Risks:

  • You need to ensure proper hygiene as a skin abrasion or cut is a potential opening for infection.
  • You place yourself at risk for the development of ingrown hairs, which can lead to the formation of cysts which may need to be surgically treated.
  • The regrowth of hair can be itchy and uncomfortable.
  • Let’s not forget to acknowledge that it can simply be near impossible to complete the task of shaving yourself when your great big belly is blocking your view!

At the end of the day, shaving or not shaving pubic hair, is a personal choice and depends on your personal hygiene habits. If you are against pubic hair shaving then let the hospital know about it. It can be common practice in many birth facilities to have a clean shaven area ahead of delivery. It may be beneficial to chat to your doctor or midwife and gain their opinion on the matter. As there are studies that are both for and against shaving, you might want to go by what your doctor or midwife advises.

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