Should you remove your pubic hair before you give birth?

Is tidying up your pubes something your midwife will expect you to do? (Hint: No!)

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We were really intrigued to read a recent study from the US, which suggests that 75% of pregnant women over the pond say they make a special effort to ensure they shave or wax their pubic hair in time for their baby’s birth.

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The researchers found that these very-pregnant pubic-hair-neateners get busy with wax or razor for 2 key reasons: either they’re worried what their midwives will think if they’ve let everything go a bit ‘wild’ down there; or they think a neat trim will make their (sometimes heavy) postnatal bleeding (lochia) a bit easier to cope with. Or both.

And that got us wondering. First, do UK midwives really mind how we’re, um, coiffed in our nether regions? And second, do pregnant British women (and British women who’ve had babies and been legs akimbo in the delivery room) feel the same way as most of their US cousins about pre-labour lady-garden maintenance?

So, we asked the Royal College of Midwives whether midwives in this country expect mums-to-be to shave or wax their pubic hair before labour or not – and we asked the mums and mums-to-be in our Chat forum and on our MadeForMums Facebook page if they did, or will be doing, a due-date pubic-hair tidy. (And wow did we have loads of responses – of all kinds – to that one!)

Here’s what we found out…

What’s the official line?

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) told us that no midwife would tell or expect a pregnant woman to shave or wax her pubic hair before turning up on the labour ward. If you want to, that’s fine; if you don’t, that’s also fine.

But, they added, there’s no reason to tidy up down there just for them: a midwife would be so busy, they say, doing her job (supporting us mums-to-be in labour and monitoring the health of our baby), the last thing she’d notice would be the trimness – or otherwise – of our pubic hair.

The one exception to this just-do-what-you-prefer pubic-hair rule is a planned C-section. Then, the RCM says, “shaving the hairs around the pubic region is sometimes offered to women if the hair growth around that area is likely to interfere with the surgical incision.” 

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Even then, though, the hair removal might be minimal and specific to a certain areas – as shaving loads of pubic hair off just before C-section surgery may risk a chance of infection in the hair follicles.

(If you end up needing an emergency C-section, of course, it’s possible that your midwife might shave an area of pubic hair, for the same reasons.)

So, there you go: it’s basically up to you how you crop your lady garden – unless you’re having a planned C-section, when a pre-hospital tidy-up might save you a shave in the hospital.

What our mums and mums-to-be say

It has to be said that this one caused quite a debate on our MadeForMums Facebook page, and no single pubic-hair management strategy stood out as the majority choice.

That said, there were a fair number of mums and mums-to-be who told us there was no way they would give birth without attending to their pubes first. For them, it’s a matter of personal pride and avoiding embarrassment. “I did [it] religiously towards end, just in case,” says Claire. “Would have been mortified if I had not.”

katt1906 in our Chat forum felt the same way: “My plan is to have a tidy up before labour. I know it’s silly but I’ll feel less self-conscious for doing it, and then the more relaxed I will be.”

From those who were keen to make sure all was neat and tidy down there, there were 2 two clear words of advice:

  • Use hair-removal cream with caution. “I used a depilatory cream,” says Carly. “Wish I hadn’t. No one told me hormones make you more sensitive to creams. My foof was on fire!” Ouch.
  • Be warned that it ain’t easy to remove below-stairs hair when you’ve a large baby bump in the way. “I tried to keep it as tidy as I could but [it’s hard] when you’re heavily pregnant,” says Danielle. “I couldn’t see my feet, let alone my fairy!” Oh, and if you’re tempted to ask for help with the razor-wielding, bear katthornton’s cautionary tale in mind and maybe insist on a detailed brief first: “My husband did it for me… I looked like I had been dragged through a hedge.”

There were also plenty of mums and mums-to-be who said firmly that pubic-hair removal was so not on their things-to-

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do-before-labour list. “Far too much effort!” Bryony says. “I was so pregnant, I couldn’t even see my feet to put my shoes on. This was the last thing on my mind!” 

Charrz91 agrees. “I stayed natural during childbirth,” she says. “I really don’t care what the midwife or doctors thought. And it’s nothing to be ashamed off. It wasn’t in the way of birthing my son, either.”

Perhaps Kim puts it most succinctly of all, with this: “Couldn’t see… Didn’t know… Didn’t care…”

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