You’re about to give birth to a seven-pound baby and what are you most stressed about? Your bikini line? Whether the Brazilian you had a fortnight ago still looks trim. Believe it or not, many women do worry about the state of their hair ‘down there’. We ask babyworld members what they did when pregnant and ask does it really matter if you let everything grow wild.
Most of us like to keep our privates… private but during pregnancy and birth, most of our modesty flies out the nearest window. Internal and external examinations, plastic uteruses at antenatal classes and horror stories of pooing in labour make it very hard for women to retain a sense of dignity for nine months. All women in labour used to be given an enema
and shave but luckily these are a thing of the past! However, one particular area of concern for some women is what people will think if they turn up in labour looking like a Yeti ‘down there’. Other women aren’t worried so much about what health professionals think as they are about maintaining a sense of good grooming during a time when their body is doing all sorts of bizarre things beyond their control.
Midwives and doctors will have seen everything before, from an itsy-bitsy Brazilian to a grandiose garden. They will not be nudging each other and tutting about your lack of pubic maintenance, as midwife Tania Pearce explains.
‘Iit’s surprising how many women worry about these things though! Other than for the ladies having an elective Caesarean who will usually be shaved when in theatre, I always say in my antenatal classes that midwives don’t mind what style they come in! As to safety of products – waxing is fine in pregnancy. Women just have to be aware that their skin may be more
sensitive and could come up in a rash. Hair removal creams haven’t been formally studied on pregnant women so I advise that you always read the instructions carefully; don’t use on broken skin or on your face; and always do a skin test first as women’s skin is often more sensitive in pregnancy. Why not ask your pharmacist or beautician to suggest safe alternatives?.’
Ouch factor: 1 scream, unless you have an allergic reaction.
‘I’d have kept my pants on if I could have’
‘I remember the days up to my due date lying on my back with my pants off applying Veet with the aid of a hand mirror. For months I obsessed about getting my bits out in the delivery suite. As it turned out, I ended up in slow labour for four days, which was so freaking agonising it completely took my mind of the state of my undercarriage. That said, during labour I still cringed at every examination and kept pathetically trying to pull the sheet over me. I’d have kept my pants on throughout if I could have. I think in the end I probably had an attractive 5 o’clock shadow peeking through.’ Belle
‘I luckily am not too hairy when pregnant’
‘I thought that neat and tidy, but not removing too much was the way to go. I’m lucky that my body hair hardly grows during pregnancy, so I waxed a couple of times but at the end just used Veet at the edges and a quick trim of the rest. I confess that towards the end I was very particular about shaving my legs, wearing make-up and having a decent blow dry every day, as I looked crap in the pics after my first daughter was born. In fact I was only in the pool for the last three contractions but still managed to tell my husband not to get my hair wet. Shame I haven’t quite kept it up since! Allyson
Ouch factor: 2 or 3 screams, depending if you cut yourself or get an ingrown hair.
‘I ended up flat on my face’
‘I kept it up (albeit with great difficulty) right up until the end! Not going into too much detail, I remember I learnt to do it without looking and just had to use my judgement! At one point, I leaned over the side of the bath further and further and further so I could see and I ended up flat on my face! The thought of being on show to all and sundry and not being in tip-top conditioned scared me more than the thought of labour!’ Nicki
‘It was a guessing game’
‘Before my bump got too big I had a good old tidy. After that, I used mirror and razor. Towards the end it was a guessing game and I thought better to have tried to tidy then not at all. Midwives don’t even care but I still wanted all to look neat! Sarah
‘I did it by feel’
‘Well, I shave everything off down below so once I could no longer see past my bump, I just did it by feel. On occasion, my husband shaved my legs, and though I’m sure he would’ve been very careful and gentle, there was no way I was letting him near there with a razor.’
‘During my ventouse delivery I was so glad I’d shaved’
‘I’ve shaved my undercarriage in the shower without looking for a few years now so it wasn’t difficult to keep it up through most of my pregnancy but it did get hard to reach around the bump, keep one leg up and keep my balance at the end! I remember during the birth when I had one of my “conscious” moments and seeing a man between my legs talking to the midwife about stirrups (he was going to do the ventouse) etc. I thought to myself “thank goodness I shaved the other day cos even though the stubble is long they’ll know I don’t go unkempt”. Why oh why did that pop into my head?’ Karen
Ouch factor: 1-5 screams – depending on how skilful your partner is.
‘My husband clippers me’
‘I always am quite a hairy beast anyway, all over the place. So I normally do ask my husband to help me trim my bits to keep them tidy. My husband would rather I’d take almost everything off at the front but I really don’t like that look for me. At the moment, he clippers me every month or so, but he normally takes too much off which really annoys me so we have a row afterwards! Basically everything comes off apart from a tufty bit at the front which just gets tidied up. Jessica
‘I read a book while my husband clipped my hair’
‘My husband did mine with clippers while I sprawled on a towel on the bed with a good book. He is a bit of a perfectionist though and it took bloody ages! A friend of mine did hers with a mirror and scissors and snipped herself which put tears in MY eyes when she told me so no way was I going down there with something sharp while I didn’t have a proper view!
‘Having someone shave you is incredibly relaxing’
‘It was one of my husband’s duties; I was determined that SOME part of me would stay unaffected by pregnancy! He managed to find a way round the whole SPD issue somehow, and usually did my legs for me at the same time. It is incredibly relaxing having someone wash you and shave you and lift you out the bath and get you dry and dressed, I felt like a queen! Actually thinking about it, I wonder if he’d buy it if I claimed I had an SPD relapse?’
Ouch factor: 3-5 screams!!!!!
‘The therapist asked me what I thought of her work’
‘I remember having a bikini wax a couple of weeks before I was due and the therapist asked me how it looked – as if I could see! I had my legs, bikini line and tummy waxed every six weeks as usual.’ Carole
‘I was waxed while in early labour’
‘Regular waxing was the way to go for me. I even made sure I went and had it done whilst in early labour as I couldn’t bear the thought of being ‘overgrown’ to give birth. It set off some pretty good contractions and it was the quickest that the beautician had ever done it. Think she had visions of delivering me on the table! I actually did have the baby later that day so was lucky I got it done when I did! Emma
‘I had my monthly wax two days before my C Section’
‘I had my monthly bikini wax throughout both pregnancies – just because I hate being even a little bit hairy and I swam a lot. As I was having a planned C Section with my second son, I had my wax done two days before the op as I knew I wouldn’t want to get it done until a few weeks after the birth. Lisa
Let it grow!
Pregnancy and birth have enough worries so stressing about hairiness is the last thing on many women’s minds. At the end of the day, a midwife is going to be so caught up in delivering your baby safely that she’s not going to be comparing how well tended your lady garden is compared to her previous patient!
‘It’s not like it’s down to my knees!’
‘They shaved me just after the spinal, and even with everything going on, I was absolutely aghast that she was going to shave my lady garden, and ashamed that it needed it. Have to say, have never been a topiary girl… let it all go: it’s not like it’s down to my knees!’
‘I wanted more modesty’
‘I grew mine back before I gave birth as I figured a nice fringe would protect my modesty a bit more than my usual “kojak”.’
‘It was like having a badger down there’
‘Anyway, I was one of the wild women of Borneo. And after the 28 or so week mark a previous scar from surgery was really sensitive, so I didn’t touch it for ages. It was like I had a badger down there. Hideous.’ Immy
‘Second time round, it didn’t bother me at all’
‘I was more bothered about this when pregnant with Rory, but after having a ventouse delivery with half the hospital in attendance I really lost all my modesty and second time round it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Quick trim with nail scissors is sufficient in my opinion. Although I did have a friend who went into labour and her first thought was “must
shave my legs”.’ Morag
‘I just don’t want spiders legs‘
‘The state of my foo is the last thing on my mind and who cares in the medical profession anyway? I use the clippers to keep it short as I don’t want what looks like spiders legs poking out but that’s all. I used Immac to take it all off last time the day before my section anyway.’