Should You Shave or Wax Before Childbirth? The Politics of Pubic Hair During Pregnancy

A midwife and a waxing therapist set the record straight.

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by Phoebe Lee |

There's plenty to think about in the weeks approaching your due date: hospital bags, the nursery, and, well, the actual delivery and raising of your baby. The last thing (but still, something) on your mind? Your pubic hair.

Even though it might be far down on your list of concerns, you'll no doubt have heard tales from friends and other mothers about what they decided to do with their pubic hair. If you wax your eyebrows, you might've also noticed the option for 'pregnancy waxing' on the treatment menu, too.

If you're a devout fan of a Hollywood wax, should you continue these up until 39 weeks? Perhaps you should, you think: you might've heard that midwives shave you before a caesarean section, after all. So: what's the truth? Here, we ask The Royal College of Midwives and a waxing specialist from Strip their thoughts on pubic politics during pregnancy.

Do I need to shave / wax / remove hair before I give birth?

'No midwife would tell or expect a pregnant woman to shave or wax her pubic hair before turning up on the labour ward or midwifery unit,' says Lia Brigante, Quality & Standards Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives.

'If you want to, that's fine; if you don't, that's also fine. It's an utterly personal choice.'

How does pubic hair interfere with a C-Section, and will a midwife shave me?

'If you've having a planned caesarean birth, your midwife may suggest to stop shaving or waxing a few days before your caesarean to reduce the risk of infection,' says Brigante. 'Sometimes, if the hair interferes with the area of the surgical incision, you will be offered removal of the hair just below your bikini line before a planned or unplanned cesarean.'

If I do want a wax, do I need one specific type that's pregnancy-safe?

It's certainly worth looking out for one that markets itself as suitable for pregnancy. Waxing authority and salon Strip offer a 'mama wax' service for pregnant women specifically. The difference between this and an ordinary wax?

'The treatment takes an extra 10 minutes to give the pregnant guest and therapist enough time to comfortably get into certain positions to carry out the wax,' says Terri Riley, Head of Education at Strip. If someone is heavily pregnant, we're trained to position the guest in a safe and comfortable way for mum and baby, so we can still carry out a thorough wax if desired.'

What's the most popular style of pubic wax for pregnant women, and why do some women opt to wax before birth?

'Some women struggle to remove their hair themselves when they're heavily pregnant, or don't have anyone on hand to help with the task. The wax lasts 4-6 weeks, so if you prefer to be hairless or trimmed, you don't have to think about your hair for a while after the birth of your child,' says Riley.

'In my experience, G-Strings and Hollywood waxes are the most popular for pregnant women. They either want all hair removing (Hollywood), or a tidy up with a G-String, which just removes hair at the sides (you can also wear disposable underwear for this treatment).'

In short? Your pubic hair, your choice.

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