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Pregnancy Grooming: The Hair Down There

Mar09

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Pregnancy Bikini Wax GroomingHi Amy,

I’m pregnant and am just starting my second trimester. This is my second pregnancy and the first time I’ve made it this far. After finally starting to relax about miscarriage, I’m beginning to focus on more pressing(ly ridiculous) issues. What about grooming when you’re so pregnant you can’t see your feet, let alone your bikini zone??

After a few landing strip years, I now lean towards the balder end the hair removal spectrum. This has been easy until now to maintain with shaving and depilatory creams. My belly is still almost non-existent, but it occurs to me that at some point it’ll be difficult to maneuver a razor or applicator down there.

I’m flexible about how to remove and also how much I leave down there, but I’m not into letting the weeds grow unchecked for the last few months of my pregnancy when I can no longer bend that way. Regular use of a cream seems frowned upon and I worry I’ll get rejected at a certain stage from getting a wax at a salon. Any tips or suggestions??

Megan

Advice Smackdown ArchivesThere’s absolutely no reason why you would get “rejected” at a salon for a bikini wax, no matter how far along you are. Bikini waxes are completely safe for most pregnant women (barring some kind of extenuating health complication), and plenty of pregnancy do-it-at-home groomers will move on to the salon professionals to take care of things once the belly gets in the way.

The only problem with waxing during pregnancy, however, is that it can be more painful for some women, because your skin can become much more sensitive. And…nerve endings. And science. And assorted “pregnancy is strange” things. Some women don’t report much of a difference between waxing pain levels before, during and after pregnancy, while others REALLY notice a jump in their discomfort level. (I found the first wax post-baby to be weirdly extra painful, instead of the ones during.) But a good salon and esthetician should have experience and options (hard wax vs. other varieties, aftercare products) that should make your waxing as easy as possible for you.

As for creams and depilatories, let’s turn to the experts at the American Pregnancy Association:

The main concerns with depilatories during pregnancy are the active ingredients barium sulfide powder and calcium thioglycolate. There is no evidence that they are harmful during pregnancy, but there have been no studies that prove they are safe either.

As with any cosmetic, you should try a patch of skin to see how you react. The chemicals, once exposed to oxygen, leave a distinct odor, which may be very unpleasant for you and in rare cases has been known to cause an allergic reaction. You will want to take extra measures to ensure a well-ventilated area and proper timing so chemical burns do not result.

So. Typical pregnancy safety double-speak, like hair coloring or certain ingredients in over-the-counter beauty creams. Basically, it’s up to you. Some women are just more comfortable taking a hard-line better-safe-than-sorry approach with everything, while others find that trying to keep up with everything that MIGHT VAGUELY POSSIBLY be less than conclusively proven 100% safe drives them completely insane.

Personally, I tend to fall somewhere in the middle, especially once I’m out of the first trimester and the bulk of super-intense development is over with. At that point, I will still steer clear of anything that’s been proven harmful, but will take the grey area stuff on a case-by-case  basis. A little hair dye and zit cream? Eh. I think I’ll be okay. Prescription medications or Frankenfood ingredients? You better have VOLUMES of proof for me that it’s safe before I’m going to touch it, or else show me a really convincing risk/reward ratio. But for your preferred use of hair-removal creams, it’s going to be between you and your doctor and how comfortable you are with topical chemicals and the possibility of absorption and the length of exposure time and the general question-mark-ness around it.

Now, back to the IMPORTANT topic of PUBIC HAIR MAINTENANCE: I never quite had it together enough to get more than the very occasional wax during my pregnancies, despite the best of intentions, so I did most of my upkeep at home. I never really aimed for bald, just…neat. Trimmed and tidy. I’ve always been surprised at just how far along I can be before it gets REALLY difficult — one leg up on the side of the tub (make sure your tub floor is slip-resistant), a little assistance from my husband’s shower-shaving mirror, then eventually sitting/lying down and staying fairly stretchy and bendy…I get the job pretty well done. If I were set on keeping things mostly hairless, though, yeah. I’d probably would opt for taking care of things at a salon. Again, there’s no reason why you can’t, unless your doctor specifically tells you otherwise, or if you discover that you can’t tolerate one without screaming at your poor esthetician like you’re practicing for labor.

In the final month and weeks, I have historically enlisted the help of my husband. Including the night I went into labor with my first, and the morning of my c-section with my second. Seriously, with everything that man eventually went on to witness just a few hours later, I can honestly say that helping me in the shower with a few razor strokes is way, WAY down on his list of Weird Things He Did That Day.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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30 Responses to “Pregnancy Grooming: The Hair Down There”

  1. Wallydraigle Mar 09 at 3:25 pm Reply Reply

    This may be TMI, but I recommend laser hair removal if at all possible (though probably not, since you’re already pregnant; I guess I don’t know how they feel about lasering a pregnant lady). Why? Well, this may get uncomfortably TMI, so be warned:
    .
    I have idiotically sensitive skin. I can shave my legs no more than once a week, because I have to go through a days-long routine in advance if I want to avoid horrible razor burn and ingrown hairs: lots of gentle exfoliation for several days, the sharpest razor I can find, followed by several days of nothing touching my legs and oil-free lotions. It’s completely ridiculous, and it makes me ANGRY. Especially since I’ve recently started getting into really good shape, and I think I may actually want to bare my legs somewhat frequently this summer.
    .
    Bikini zone? It’s like nuclear fallout if I even think about taking a razor to it. Just trimming makes the hair all sharp and my skin itch. I’ve even tried plucking. Yep, ingrown hair city.
    .
    So I’m not doing anything down there ever again until I can afford laser treatment. And it better happen before I have another kid because I’m practically guaranteed another C-section, and nothing come closer to hell on earth than hair growing back through a belly wound.

  2. IrishCream Mar 09 at 4:19 pm Reply Reply

    My husband gave me a hand all through the third trimester, using an electric hair trimmer that he had stopped using to cut his own hair. I could not see what I was doing otherwise, and that was just scary.

  3. Sara Mar 09 at 4:27 pm Reply Reply

    My husband does the grooming when I am pregnant. I lay on the bed and he does the shaving/trimming. It’s awesome since I don’t have to do it and could usually just take a nap! He uses one of the attachements on his beard/nose trimmer thing, then shaves if needed.

  4. jive turkey Mar 09 at 4:55 pm Reply Reply

    I got a bikini wax at, like, a ZILLION weeks pregnant (around 38 weeks). I went to a nice spa and everyone was totally accommodating (which was nice, because I felt like an orca trying to get up on the table), and the whole thing was over in 15 minutes tops. No one acted weird about it. I highly recommend.

  5. Jillian Mar 09 at 5:17 pm Reply Reply

    My hat is off to you ladies. I got my legs waxed. Once. And even with a dose of my cat’s tranquilizer I found it intolerable.

  6. Isa Mar 09 at 5:32 pm Reply Reply

    I got a bikini wax about a week before my son was born, and I just wanted to give you a little warning. Apparently that whole “increased blood flow” thing down there can lead to actual bleeding during waxing, and I ended up with huge painful blood blisters as well. I went to a reputable salon, and the aesthetician was great, but I still limped out of there miserable. YMMV

  7. JennyMooMeow Mar 09 at 5:48 pm Reply Reply

    I will admit to letting things go a bit too wild near the end of both of my pregnancies. I had to resort to laying in the tub and trying to twist sideways with a mirror to get the job done. And I was just trying to keep neat and tidy. I second the idea of getting your spouse or partner involved. I should have done that, but didn’t. He was always “too busy” to help. Honestly, it could lead to something fun.

  8. Lori Mar 09 at 6:08 pm Reply Reply

    Wow. I can’t be lieve the thought and effort that people have placed into this! I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal. When I couldn’t reach, I let it go. There were things of bigger importance to deal with in my opinion.

  9. kirida Mar 09 at 7:01 pm Reply Reply

    I would say that if you’re going to go for the full commando wax, then it is for your benefit. It really doesn’t matter if you have no hair or if your lady parts look like two chinchillas fighting it out. You are not going to win a best groomed pube prize from the hospital.

  10. kirida Mar 09 at 7:02 pm Reply Reply

    I would say that if you’re going to go for the full commando wax, then it is for your benefit. It really doesn’t matter if you have no hair or if your lady parts look like two chinchillas fighting it out. You are not going to win a best groomed pube prize from the hospital.

  11. M Mar 09 at 9:04 pm Reply Reply

    Some of these comments are hilarious!  I just want to thank Megan and Amalah for FINALLY allowing me to reveal to the internet that I waxed my own bikini line three days before giving birth. I used a hand mirror for a guide and the sink and toilet for leverage, and it was (surprisingly) totally fine.  I wasn’t trying to win a best-groomed contest or anything, but I’m a waxer–it’s part of my hygiene routine, and it became a funny kind of Everest to see how long I would be able to do it.  Also, telling my midwife that I hoped she liked the bikini line, since I did it just for her? Priceless. 

  12. Kari Weber Mar 09 at 10:32 pm Reply Reply

    Maybe trying to do this OUTSIDE the tub on like a towel? I know that when I was pregnant and wanted to sit down to shave or take a bath, I felt like the walls of the tub were CLOSING in on me.  I can imagine it being quite hard to twist or manuever in any way with that.  I would think laying on the bed or the floor, on a towel to catch… clippings… would be easier and more comfortable.  

  13. Tara Mar 10 at 7:39 am Reply Reply

    Easy at home helper ~ beard and mustache trimmer. I am used to the ‘strip’ too, but @ 7 or 8 months pregnant it feels good enough to at least be tamed down there. I don’t need a mirror or anything, which is great since I cannot spread with 2 busy hands and expect to stay in position.

  14. Hillary Mar 10 at 9:15 am Reply Reply

    I am not much for anything more than a trim down there, but I do wish I’d gotten waxed before my c-section. They shave you with the worst disposable razor ever, and it really itches like hell when the tape and whatnot gets pulled off the hairs that weren’t shaved. Unfortunately, there is no helping the agony of the itchy hair growing back in.
    If you are getting waxed or shaved or whatever before a c-section, do it 48 hours in advance. The new surgical patient safety guidelines are to avoid any shaving or waxing pre-surgery.

  15. crabby apple seed Mar 10 at 1:28 pm Reply Reply

    I got waxed all the way through both pregnancies (last wax at 36 weeks both times), never even got questioned about it. Your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so it’s a bit more uncomfortable, but not unbearable.

  16. Gretchen Mar 10 at 4:37 pm Reply Reply

    I have a very open and wonderful relationship with the lady who does my waxing. She’s good about telling me when things get out of control (aka I grew hair on MY STOMACH, AND DIDN’T KNOW).

    Right now while I’m stuffed with Critter 2.0 I’m letting things go a bit more au naturel since I’m prone to getting huge terrifying in-grown hairs. This only seems to be a problem when I’m pregnant.

    I do recommend extra exfoliation to prevent stuck hairs, but the salon should have no troubles with waxing your pregnant self.

  17. lisak Mar 11 at 9:52 am Reply Reply

    Is this an age thing?  Am I just too old (46) to understand this phenomenon?  I cannot eve IMAGINE doing this pregnant, let alone any other time. Thank god my kids are 12 and 14 and apparently this trend was still way far out on the horizon at that time.  Who needs to think about this along with everything else pregnancy and birth brings to think about? Also?  I have crazy sensitive skin and I can only imagine the rash and in grown hairs I’d have.  But, really, I just can’t imagine why I would bother.  I understand doing a bikini wax so that you’re not showing your hairy edges to the world in a swimsuit, but other than that, just no.  Not gonna happen.  Brazilian? Landing strip?  Other creative designs?  No.  Ick.  

  18. Danielle Mar 11 at 11:34 am Reply Reply

    Dude, forget the bikini area — I needed my husband to shave my LEGS for a good portion of the third trimester!

  19. rkmama Mar 11 at 11:38 am Reply Reply

    What does it say about me that I could not get through these comments without giggling? My husband and I have a very open relationship and yes after his very up-close and personal orchestra seats for the birth of our 2 children there are pretty much no secrets and nothing left to the imagination between us but I can’t stop laughing as I picture his face if I asked him to help me out with the grooming down there. {Not that I’m at all judging those of you who do that- and I think if I asked, he would… just the thought of that conversation is enough to turn me into a 13 year old boy.}

  20. Stefanie Mar 11 at 12:22 pm Reply Reply

    I had sugaring done twice while pregnant (I think it hurts less and there is no dipping of a spatula into a giant vat of wax that is used on multiple people) and had two very different experiences. The first woman was TERRIFIED of hurting a pregnant woman, even though I assured her that it was not that bad and labor was certainly going to be more painful. The second woman did not bat an eye and said she’d done waxes on lots of pregnant women who did not want to look all unkempt on the delivery table or could no longer reach their bits (both for me). I didn’t think it hurt any more than normal. You could even do some vajazzling so the baby has a sparkly entrance into the world!

  21. Corie Mar 11 at 8:56 pm Reply Reply

    I got waxed all through my pregnancy. I go totally bare, too. It was slightly more painful than normal, but manageable. I was really glad that I was totally bald in the days immediately following my delivery – it made cleaning up those tender, swollen areas that much easier, since I could just rinse everything in the shower rather than having to wash things out of the hair down there (gross, but one of the not-so-wonderful things about the first few days post-partum).

  22. Rachel Mar 13 at 2:58 pm Reply Reply

    “You could even do some vajazzling so the baby has a sparkly entrance into the world!” Oh my goodness I am laughing my ASS off to this comment!!

  23. Becca Mar 13 at 11:52 pm Reply Reply

    I just don’t get this either, and I’m not out of the generation who should. I’m only 28, but the idea of willingly going totally bald is just…weird and gross and way too pre-pubescent looking for my (or my husband’s) taste. I’ll go through periods where I shave a little or a lot, and then I’ll go through times when I don’t shave at all. I just don’t understand why people spend so much time on something so silly.

  24. gidget Mar 15 at 3:11 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with you Becca (and I’m 30). I’ve tried going bald a couple of times, but it’s definitely not my thing. A good trim is all I need. To each their own, but I hate to see the day when it’s *expected* that all women be completely bald and those of us that aren’t are viewed as hairy freaks or something….

  25. Clueless Mar 16 at 10:23 am Reply Reply

    I guess I am in the minority but I didn’t have any trouble reaching/shaving myself completely the night before I was induced and I was HUGE! I thought about waxing but that required effort and scheduling an appointment which as just too much for me.

  26. leslie Mar 17 at 3:13 pm Reply Reply

    I’m also with you, Becca & Gidget. I’m 33 and never understood this whole phenomenon of needing to be perfectly groomed down there all the time, no matter what. I went totally bald once…for our honeymoon…and never again. I felt like I was 11 and the whole thing just weirded me out. Don’t get me wrong, I keep it “tidy” down there with a razor and scissors normally, but by the time I was nine months pregnant, it was about the last thing I cared about. I let it go. I’m pretty sure the doctors/nurses have seen it all and couldn’t care less. And even if they did (which they don’t), who cares? When you were pushing like hell to get that baby out, were you really worried about how your vajayjay looked? I know I sure wasn’t!!

  27. Zinna Mar 18 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    Just found this site. LOVE IT!

    I guess I’m just more bohemian than you all. This is my third pregnancy and as with the first two, I just let it go. I’m lucky that I don’t have much hair to begin with (I only shave my legs every two or three months) but I do shave the bikini line when I shave my armpits (every three days or so).

    Once I start getting big, however, all bets are off. I just stop shaving everything but the pits. I may need a trim this time around, however, because unlike my earlier two, I’ll actually have to go through the summer (aka beach and pool). So, perhaps I need to rethink my bohemian ways…

  28. Isabel Mar 24 at 11:28 am Reply Reply

    You know I had to put my two cents in on this topic. I can manage my at home waxing when I’m not with child. (I even have a professional wax system at my house. Oh yes, I take this very seriously.) But once I got too far along with my pregnancies I had to go and have it done professionally. I’m not sure if it was because I was further along, but oh man, it HURT. That wasn’t going to stop me from getting it all taken off. Beauty is pain.

    My (female) OBGYN even thanked me for being waxed. She said it made her job much easier.

    I had an emergency C-section with my first child and being completely hair free made not only the actual procedure but also the recovery so much nicer. (My doctor never said anything, but I’m convinced that my scar is much cleaner because of the blank canvas she had to work with.)

    Hair free is the way to be.

  29. Tasterspoon Mar 24 at 1:32 pm Reply Reply

    I was swimming in a bikini up until the end so I needed to keep things “contained” plus it’s a hygiene thing for me. I prefer the Brazilian just because I feel cleaner but my husband, like some of the commenters, also thinks that fully bald is a bit prepubescent-icky, so we’ve compromised on a landing strip in front and I do what I like with the rest. Anyway.

    I’m an at-home waxer, and I got to 30-some weeks before I sought out a salon because I didn’t think I could reach. She had no issue with me being pregnant, except that she Iaughed when, just after telling her how I was planning to give birth au naturale, she started ripping and I started screaming. Oh my goodness it was painful. I only went for cleanup on the edges because of aforesaid bikini and I felt weird asking another person to take care of the more intimate areas…but got home, had second thoughts and managed to do the rest myself. So it can be done! I did it myself once more before the end.

    I was way more hesitant to address matters AFTER giving birth because of how painful it had been the last time (and I wasn’t going near a bikini so there was no rush)…but it was totally fine. It now completely makes sense that it was a pregnancy thing.

  30. Samantha Mar 26 at 7:27 pm Reply Reply

    Some guys can happily go days without shaving their faces — or just grown beards — while others get twitchy when they have 5 o’ clock stubble. Ditto for me: It’s a physical comfort thing.

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