Removing Your Pubic Hair for Labor

Pregnant Woman in Bathtub
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Shaving for birth used to be something that the nurses did to you when you arrived at the hospital. As doctors and midwives realized that there might be a purpose for pubic hair in preventing infection, this practice died quickly.

The majority of women were really relieved. Many had felt embarrassed by being shaved, or really disliked the painful, itchy experience of pubic hair growing back.

The question is starting to come up again. But now women have begun to take the razors or wax strips into their own hands. Some women are choosing to have a bikini or Brazilian wax done prior to birth.

This is also something that more women may be doing even when they are not pregnant and are simply continuing a practice started well before they got pregnant. Some also claim that pubic hair bothers them when viewed by others. For other women, this is not something done specifically for birth but in general.

Pro Removal
  • Some women are continuing pubic hair removal as they practiced before pregnancy

  • May be embarrassed by showing pubic hair

  • Is generally safe

Con Removal
  • Itchy and uncomfortable when pubic hair grows back

  • Pubic hair left on perineum helps protect against infection

  • Difficult to remove pubic hair yourself late in pregnancy

  • Removing pubic hair is not medically necessary

Proponents of this practice claim that the area is neater and easier to keep clean in the postpartum if it is shaved. If there are sutures from a cesarean, or even a repair of the perineum, hair that has been removed may grow back and get stuck in the sutures.

This is something many mothers worry about. Other moms don't find that to be an issue at all, particularly if the hair is merely taken down, and not completely shaved.

Bikini vs. Brazilian Waxing

A bikini wax generally removes excess hair around the mons pubis, which is where the majority of pubic hair is located, and the stray pubic hair that may grow outside of the area covered by a bikini, hence the term bikini line. The Brazilian wax removes all the hair on the mons pubis, labia, etc.

While some women don't want to go as far as a Brazilian wax or even a bikini wax, there are some who choose to trim the longer or stray hairs in preparation for labor. This can be difficult in the later months of pregnancy, simply because it's so hard to see around your pregnant belly. You can go to a fancy spa, invite your partner to help, or take your chances.

Trimming can be a preferred option because the hair is not painful or itching as it grows back.

Is It Safe to Get a Brazilian While Pregnant?

It is generally considered to be safe to get a Brazilian wax while pregnant. While your skin may be more sensitive, and you should always tell your technician that you are pregnant, even if you think it's obvious, there is no medical reason to avoid a Brazilian.

Why Did We Stop Shaving for Birth?

As for the science behind the shaving and waxing, it was found that there is a small decrease in maternal infection rates when the hair on the perineum is left in place: this is what would also be removed during a Brazilian wax. This is one of the reasons that many hospitals abandoned the practice altogether.

A Word From Verywell

So for those of you who want to trim and clip or remove hair around the bikini line, you're safe and not increasing your risk of infection (assuming you don't cut yourself). For those of you who are still anti-shaving, you're fine too. The good news is that whatever you chose to do is acceptable. You are the only one you have to please.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Charrier L, Serafini P, Chiono V, Rebora M, Rabacchi G, Zotti CM. Clean and sterile delivery: two different approaches to infection control. J Eval Clin Pract. 2010;16(4):771-775. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2753.2009.01191.x

  2. Truesdale MD, Osterberg EC, Gaither TW, et al. Prevalence of Pubic Hair Grooming-Related Injuries and Identification of High-Risk Individuals in the United States [published correction appears in JAMA Dermatol. 2017 Nov 1;153(11):1201]. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(11):1114–1121. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.2815

Additional Reading

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.