The question of whether or not should you consider shaving your pubic hair before childbirth is one that many expecting mothers wrestle with. On one side of the debate are those who argue trimming or shaving can make the birthing process cleaner and easier. The other side suggests leaving hair in its natural state to avoid irritation or other potential complications.
There are passionate advocates on both sides, often due to their own personal experiences. Some women swear that a bare pubic area allowed for a quicker, cleaner birth. Others say they regretted shaving due to razor burn or increased sensitivity. Of course, every woman’s body is different.
Ultimately, there are good arguments on both sides. While shaving may simplify the process for the doctors, irritation could be very distracting during labor. Leaving hair could pose some challenges while delivering, but skipping shaving reduces inflammation risks. There is no definitive right or wrong answer.
As an expectant mother, the choice depends on your priorities. Do you want to eliminate any potential messiness for the doctors? Or avoid irritation and inflammation at all costs? There are benefits and drawbacks either way. Most importantly, talk to your doctor and do what makes you comfortable.
Related: How To Shave While Pregnant
Should You Consider Shaving Your Pubic Hair Before Childbirth
The Supposed Benefits
Some people believe there are benefits to removing pubic hair before giving birth. Here are some of the touted advantages:
Easier Access and Visibility During Birth
Shaving or waxing can provide the medical team with better visibility and access during delivery. Pubic hair may partially obstruct their view, making it more difficult to monitor the birthing process and perineum. Removing excess hair creates clearer lines of sight.
Some also argue this improved visibility allows doctors and nurses to provide more accurate coaching for when and how to push. With an unobstructed vantage point, health providers can better guide the mother through each stage of labor.
Another purported benefit is improved hygiene. Removing pubic hair minimizes the area where bodily fluids, vernix, and other fluids can collect during the messy birthing process. Some believe this helps reduce odor and makes cleanup easier postpartum.
Shaving can also reduce the risk of fluids drying and crusting in the pubic hair. After delivery, the mother will have one less area to focus on cleaning.
Prevents Hair from Matting
If fluids dry and crust in the pubic hair, they can cause matting and knots. Trying to comb out these knots would likely be painful, especially in the sensitive nether region. Shaving eliminates this discomfort because there is no hair to tangle.
Some mothers want to avoid this extra grooming hassle after birth. Removing pubic hair pre-delivery prevents knotting and matting from occurring in the first place.
The Potential Risks
Shaving your pubic hair before childbirth does come with some risks that you’ll want to consider. While not hugely dangerous, there are some potential issues that could arise.
The main risks with shaving your pubic area are:
- Irritation – Shaving can easily lead to skin irritation, razor burn, and general soreness around your pubic area. The skin down there is very sensitive already, so dragging a razor over it repeatedly can cause redness, bumps, and discomfort. This can be especially unpleasant when you’re nearing your due date.
- Ingrown hairs – When the shaved hair starts to grow back, it can curl back inward and become trapped under the skin surface. This causes red, painful bumps known as ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are common in pubic areas even without shaving, but shaving before birth increases the chances.
- Cuts and nicks – It’s easy to accidentally cut or nick the skin when you’re shaving around the groin and genital area. Any small cuts could potentially become infected. This risk increases the closer you get to delivery.
- Increased infection risk – Shaving creates tiny microabrasions in the skin that allow bacteria to enter more easily. With childbirth nearing, any introduced bacteria has an easier pathway into your bloodstream. This makes post-shaving infections more likely.
So while going bare down there before birth may seem appealing for some, it’s wise to weigh the potential shaving risks first. If you do opt to shave, take precautions to minimize irritation. But there’s no need to shave at all – your medical providers are used to seeing pubic hair of all styles and lengths!
What The Experts Say
Many obstetricians recommend being clean-shaven during labor for women. This makes it easier for doctors to access the genital area in case of needing stitches after birth or other procedures.
Some key expert opinions on shaving before birth include:
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the decision to shave is a personal choice, but if women do shave, they should stop at least 2 weeks before the due date. This prevents cuts and irritation right before delivery.
- Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, advises to avoid shaving the bikini line for 3-4 weeks before the due date. She says the hair has a protective barrier function.
- Dr. Christine Greves, a board-certified ob-gyn, recommends stopping shaving 1 month prior to reduce the risk of infection caused by micro-tears in the skin from shaving.
- Many doctors suggest trimming with scissors or an electric clipper if hair growth is uncomfortable close to the due date. This is less likely to cause irritation than shaving with a razor.
- Overall, most experts agree that shaving right before delivery can increase chances of infection and should be avoided in the final few weeks of pregnancy. But keeping the area trimmed is an acceptable alternative.
My Personal Experience
As an expectant dad, I’ll admit I had mixed feelings when my wife first suggested shaving her pubic hair before giving birth. On one hand, I understood why she wanted to do it – she thought it might help keep things cleaner down there during labor. But on the other hand, I loved her just the way she was and didn’t want her to feel like she had to change her body for my sake.
When we talked about it more, I realized it was important for me to support her in whatever choice she felt most comfortable with. This was ultimately her decision about her own body. I made sure she knew that no matter what, I found her beautiful and was overflowing with excitement to meet our child.
In the end, we decided together that shaving probably wasn’t necessary, but she could trim things up if it would make her feel more confident going into delivery day. I’m glad we were able to reach a compromise that worked for both of us. My advice to expecting dads is to be open-minded if this topic comes up, and remember that your unwavering love and support is the most important thing as your partner prepares to bring new life into the world.
But what about the aesthetics? Let me tell you, the birthing team is focused on one thing and one thing only: bringing your little miracle into the world safely. They've seen it all, and trust me, a little pubic hair is the least of their concerns.
Asking Your Partner’s Opinion
As the partner who is giving birth, ultimately the choice is yours. However, it’s still important to have an open conversation with your partner and ask their opinion.
Remember, this decision impacts both of you. Your partner may have preferences or feel more comfortable with one option over the other. Making the decision together can help you feel more confident.
Have an honest discussion about what you both think is best. Explain your reasoning and concerns to your partner. Be open-minded, and don’t dismiss their perspective outright. Likewise, don’t let your partner pressure you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with.
Make sure you both feel heard. This isn’t about convincing each other, but understanding where you both stand. With care, empathy and mutual understanding, you can reach an decision you both feel good about.
Most importantly, don’t forget that this is your body and your birth experience. While your partner’s opinion matters, you get to make the final call. Trust your instincts about what will make you feel most comfortable as you bring your child into the world.
Shaving your pubic hair completely before childbirth does not need to be an all or nothing decision. There are other options besides being completely bare or leaving your hair fully grown out. One alternative is to simply trim your pubic hair instead of shaving it entirely.
Trimming can allow you to shorten your hair and keep things neat and tidy down there without having to commit to being completely hairless. Using an electric trimmer on a longer guard setting can take your hair from long to a shorter, neater length while avoiding the itchiness and irritation that can come with shaving bare.
Trimming also doesn’t come with the ingrown hairs and razor bumps that shaving can sometimes lead to. It’s quick and easy to trim your pubic hair at home in just a few minutes, whereas shaving takes more time and effort to fully remove all the hair. Trimming cuts down on maintenance compared to shaving regularly.
If you want to change things up from your current hairstyle but aren’t sure about committing to a fully bare look, then trimming your pubic hair is a great middle ground option. Trimmed hair can provide a neater, more put-together look while avoiding the risks and discomfort that can come with being freshly shaved. Consider trimming as an alternative if you’re on the fence about shaving everything off down there before your due date arrives.
Making The Final Decision
This is an extremely personal choice that only you and your partner can make. There’s no right or wrong answer. You’ll have to carefully weigh the potential pros and cons and decide what makes the most sense for your unique situation.
Some key things to think about:
- Comfort – Will you feel more comfortable before and during childbirth with or without pubic hair? For some women, having less hair down there helps them feel cleaner and more put together. For others, the stubble growing back in can cause irritation.
- Tradition – Is shaving something you’ve done regularly before pregnancy? Or would this be new? Sticking with your normal routine may make you feel more like yourself. But a fresh start can also be exciting.
- Partner’s opinion – Have an open discussion with your partner about their thoughts and preferences. But don’t let their opinion outweigh your own comfort.
- Recovery – Pubic hair can help protect healing tissues postpartum. But if you’ll have a C-section, the surgical area will be shaved anyway.
- Timeline – When would you do the shaving? Too close to delivery and the stubble regrowth could be bothersome. But too early and you may have to do it again.
- Alternatives – If you can’t decide about going bare, consider just trimming instead of fully shaving. This takes things down a notch while avoiding complete baldness.
Really think through what’s most important to you. Trust your instincts about what will make you feel your best. This is your body, your baby, your birth.
Prepping For Shaving
When you decide to shave your pubic hair before giving birth, proper preparation and aftercare is crucial for avoiding irritation, ingrown hairs, and other issues. Here are some tips to prep your skin and care for it afterwards:
- Take a warm shower or bath first to soften the hair and open your pores. This allows for a closer shave.
- Use a new, sharp razor meant for sensitive areas. Dull razors tug at the skin.
- Use a rich, moisturizing shave cream, gel, or oil to provide a smooth glide and protect the skin.
- Stretch the skin taut with one hand while shaving with the other. Go slowly.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it. Rinse the blade often.
- Apply aloe vera gel after shaving to soothe skin and prevent ingrowns.
- Manual razors with multiple blades work best. Try women’s bikini razors.
- Electric razors are another option, but may not shave as close. Use a body groomer for large areas.
- Avoid hair removal creams, which can cause irritation on sensitive genital skin.
- Avoid tight clothing afterwards, and wear breathable cotton underwear.
- Use a gentle, unscented moisturizer daily to keep the area hydrated.
- Exfoliate gently with a wet washcloth to prevent ingrown hairs. Don’t scrub.
- Avoid swimming or hot tubs until the skin heals fully to prevent infection.
- See a doctor if you experience continued itching, redness or irritation after shaving.
Properly prepping and caring for your skin before and after shaving can help make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible. Take it slow and treat the area gently.
Ultimately, the decision about whether to shave your pubic hair before giving birth is a personal one. There are some potential benefits, like allowing doctors a clearer view during delivery or feeling more hygienic. But there are also risks like increased chance of infection or ingrown hairs. Many experts say the risks likely outweigh the benefits, but some fathers still choose to shave.
If you’re unsure what to do, have an open conversation with your partner to get their input. You could also try trimming instead of fully shaving to reduce irritation. And keep in mind that you can always opt to leave the hair as is – plenty of dads have perfectly normal birth experiences without shaving first.
The most important things are keeping the area clean and avoiding cuts or scrapes. At the end of the day, choose whatever makes you and your partner most comfortable as you prepare to welcome your new baby.
This is her body, her birth experience, and her comfort that matters most. Be her rock, not her razor pusher. Besides, wouldn't you rather be holding your newborn, basking in that magical "we did it!" moment, instead of stressing about a few stray hairs? P.S. And hey, if you're still on the fence, picture this: Would you shave your beard before surgery? Probably not. Same principle applies, dads.