pregnancy

From full bush to Brazilian, we asked women how they addressed their pubes before childbirth.

Of all the things most pregnant women worry about when preparing for childbirth, their pubic hair seems to be very low on the list.

Speaking to mums about the topic, Mamamia discovered that if they did think about their hair down there in the context of impending childbirth, it was because they were maintaining their normal beauty routines – not because they were worried about the outdated belief that shaving the area was a must.

As recently as a decade ago, it was standard practice in many hospitals to shave a woman’s pubic area before she delivered, for concern about the hairs creating an environment for possible infection.

Things have now changed, because people can now see the wood for the (ahem) forest.

Watch: All your questions about childbirth – answered. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

One mum revealed that when she was recently asked by a nurse brandishing clippers whether she’d ‘like a trim’ whilst she was in labour, she replied, “Forget my f*cking pubes, get this baby out of me!”

Now that’s getting your priorities right.

General practitioner obstetrician Gillian Riley says suggesting that a woman shave her pubic area for childbirth is now considered an outdated practice.

“There’s no shaving done routinely for normal births,” Dr Riley says.

“Generally, a patient may need a shave of where the incision will be if a Caesarean section is being done. Some patients prefer to do this themselves before coming in, but most don’t.”

Midwife Rachael Laurie explained that shaving is routine practice in those situations.

“For an emergency Caesar, we check they are shaved from the pubic bone up so the area remains as sterile as possible, but also to assist the dressing to stick adequately and remain intact.”

Laurie adds, “We still get the occasional woman who has plenty of hair, but the majority come in with full Brazilians.”

So, it seems that how you address your KBEs (koala bear ears), muff, bush, map of Tasmania, Miss VJ, or landing strip, before childbirth is as varied, and personal, as the names you can call it.

As it should be.

Listen: Leigh Campbell shares her birth story on This Glorious Mess, Mamamia’s podcast for parents. Post continues after audio.

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How did the backflip on shaving policy come about? According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection about hair removal and incidence of surgical site infection, there were significantly fewer infections after trimming or waxing, than with shaving.

In fact, that’s also the official position from the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation, whose main advice is to steer clear of a close shave where possible.

“Routine perineal/pubic shaving prior to giving vaginal birth is not recommended,” they say, the concern being for nicks and scrapes potentially being a trigger for infection.

They also make it clear that whilst the situation for C-sections is different, it’s ultimately a woman’s choice.

“The decision regarding perineal/pubic shaving should be left to the woman and not the health care provider.

“In situations where a woman chooses to have perineal/pubic shaving prior to birth, she should be advised to arrange to be shaved wherever and by whomever she is most comfortable with.”

Thank you, WHO.

I recall being prepped for an emergency C-section 12 years ago, and them whipping out the clippers in the pre-op room. I wasn’t sure why, but just went with it because the baby was coming out at 32 weeks so I was kind of pre-occupied with that.

But I did think in passing, “Man, that’s going to be itchy as it grows back.”

So it’s great that women who’ve had more recent experience with childbirth report that a fight with the clippers was not part of their experience, and that rather, they made a conscious choice to wear their hair down there however they wanted.

“There’s no way I was spreading my legs to show a full bush, so I waxed,” Caroline says.

“My hair’s completely different down there, so I didn’t remove it, but I actually dyed it, because no one’s allowed to see that except my husband,” Holly reveals.

And Amy tells quite the pubic hair journey.

“By the time I had my third child, I didn’t care less about my pubes. I had waxed the other two times, just for aesthetics. My obstetrician at my third birth made a small joke about my full bush, so when it came near to my time for my fourth baby, I was determined to have a wax.

“Of course, I ended up going into labour three weeks early, with a full, salt-n-pepper Amazon.”

That’s motherhood for you. Pubes and all.

Feature Image: Getty.


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