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Experts Now Agree That People With Vaginas Should Stop Shaving Their Pubic Hair

"People who don't feel 'clean' unless they remove their pubic hair may be experiencing internalized misogyny..."

Angela Grant Buechner, BA, BScN, RN, IBCLC is a registered nurse, international board-certified lactation consultant, doula, and educator who has been working with new families and babies for over 20 years. She is currently the owner of Nutmeg Consulting in Toronto, Canada.

And Angela recently caught the attention of nearly 4 million people by making a TikTok about why shaving your pubic hair isn't the best idea if you're pregnant:

BuzzFeed talked to Angela to get more information about the topic of pubes and pregnancy.

"My whole mission on TikTok is to share unbiased, non-judgmental information so people can learn something new. I shared the TikTok because I know that in some places (especially the US), it may still be common for women/birthers to be shaved or told to remove their pubic hair before birth, even though current research shows that it's not necessary and even increases the risk of infection. I'm in Canada, where it hasn't been standard practice for MANY years," she said.

The Mayo Clinic also states that the removal of pubic hair at any time increases the risk of infection.

A quick look in the comment section will show you that many people said they were forced to shave before giving birth. Angela responded to this by saying, "Unfortunately, just because something is still standard practice in healthcare, it doesn't mean that it's BEST practice. There is actually NO surgery where shaving with a razor is recommended anymore, as it increases the risk of infection due to microabrasions."

One person said "if that's the case then why the fudge did a nurse DRY shave me. Even another nurse asked if she wanted soap and water"
@nutmeg_lc / tiktok.com

"If anything, clipping and trimming are OK if people really feel the need to groom before labor or birth. Waxing or shaving more than a few days ahead of birth is best so you have a chance to heal, but since you can't predict when you'll go into labor, after 36 weeks can be a gamble," she added.

BuzzFeed also spoke to OBGYN Dr. Erica Montes, MD, FACOG, who has been practicing for 10 years, about shaving before surgery and shaving pubic hair in general.

As an OBGYN, Dr. Montes quickly clarified that TRIMMING is all that is performed before surgery — not shaving. In addition, she said that trimming is only done so there is better visualization for where the incision will be made.

Clippers
Sakda Maprachuab / Getty Images/EyeEm

Dr. Montes went on to explain why shaving your pubic hair is not recommended — during pregnancy or really at any point in time. "Some risks with shaving can include folliculitis or infection of the hair follicle. It can also lead to ingrown hairs, which can cause pain and infection of the surrounding skin. Shaving can also lead to cuts in the skin, which can become infected, leading to multiple other infections, especially during sex," she said.

A person holding a razor over their pubic area
Chaiwatt Chankasamsak / Getty Images/EyeEm

And pubic hair serves a purpose, which is why we have it! "It provides protection against friction that can cause skin irritation, it helps reduce the amount of sweat produced in the vulvar region, it helps regulate body temperature, and it also serves a similar function to eyelashes or nose hair. In addition, it can trap dirt, debris, and organisms. Therefore, it may protect against common vaginal infections, STIs, and UTIs," said Dr. Montes.

A person with grass over their pubic area
Vikavalter / Getty Images/iStockphoto

All of this being said, Dr. Montes does think that people with vaginas should do what feels most comfortable to them in regards to grooming. "As long as they know the potential risks and they are taking precautions to prevent infections, then that's all we can ask for," she concluded.

And Angela ended by saying that vaginas are meant to give birth, so there is no preparation needed. "Just like vaginas are 'self-cleaning' and don't need extra products or cleaning, they don't need preparation to give birth. People who don't feel 'clean' unless they remove their normal pubic hair may be experiencing internalized misogyny," she added.

A nude doll with a heart over their pubic area
Dvulikaia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

TL;DR: Shaving your pubic hair can cause all sorts of infections and ingrown hairs! Keeping your pubic hair has many benefits, including protection against friction and irritation — and it may protect against vaginal infections, like STIs and UTIs. So, consider trimming instead of shaving if you feel the need!

You can follow Angela on TikTok and Instagram. She also has a Virtual Academy with online courses and a Postpartum Planning Guide you can check out. You can visit Dr. Montes' website to learn more about women's health and follow her on Instagram.