So, You're Pregnant & Want To Shave Your Vagina...

Illustration by Louisa Cannell
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to shave your vagina when you can't even see it?" my friend, in her eighth month of pregnancy, practically shouted at me over dinner last month. I'm currently sitting at the single table in life these days, so my answer was no, but the question got me thinking: Can you? Or, more importantly, can you... safely?
In short, yes. Pregnancy causes a spike in hormones that kicks your hair growth cycle into overdrive, so you're getting more by week 20 than ever. Removing it, whether you're carrying a human in your fetus or not, is just a matter of preference. And while you could wax, the extra blood flow and swelling in the area makes your skin super-sensitive to pain. There's always the idea of asking for a helping hand from a friend or your S.O., which is all good if you're comfortable, but a pretty damn vulnerable position to be in for a lot of us.
The fact is, shaving is just more convenient to do while pregnant, and it's safe — provided you take extra care and barring some kind of extenuating health complication. "It's not a situation like smoking, where we say absolutely no smoking during pregnancy," says Donnica Moore, MD, physician and host of the podcast In The Ladies' Room with Dr. Donnica. "The risks are small."
So if you're up for the task, keep this guide handy. You already have a gazillion other things to worry about during this special time in your life — figuring out how to maneuver around your belly with a sharp razor to your nether regions without making a slasher movie out of it shouldn't be one of them.
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Sweat The Small Stuff

You're probably already being extra diligent about how you order your cheese, coffee, and seafood, so it makes sense that you'll want to extend that same attention to detail into your grooming routine. For starters, always use a new, clean razor and thick shaving cream.

"Gently shave downward in the same direction as the hair growth," advises Jodi Shays, the owner and founder of Queen Bee Salon & Spa. Never do it on dry skin, either — because the skin itself is more sensitive, irritation and razor burn is more common. "For a slicker shave, use an organic, fragrance- and- paraben-free hair conditioner on the skin to help soften the hair," she says.
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Know Thy Products

There are safe products, and then there are safe-while-pregnant products. "The last thing women ever want — especially during pregnancy — is an infection down there," Moore says. Shays recommends staying away from all beta hydroxy acids, like glycolic or salicylic acid-infused treatments, which people typically use for ingrowns. Instead, she says you can use a soothing antiseptic lotion before and after to prevent redness (she likes pure aloe vera, Aveeno's Anti-Itch Cream, and the ISUN After Sun Mask).
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Know Your Angles

Follow Kendrick Lamar's advice and sit down. Even if you're in the first trimester (and especially when you're in the third, a time in which you "could get dizzy and fall from trying to look out down," Shays says), you'll have far more control if you're leaning back against a chair, seated toilet, or your bed. "You could also sit on the floor with your knees splayed out yoga-style and tackle the sides this way," Shays says. Sitting near the edge of your seat, prop one leg at a time onto a smaller stool or bench, which Moore says helps increase the area of exposure, and turn your knee outward.

Chances are, after a certain amount of weeks you won't be able to see below your belly bump (everybody is different, but this usually happens around the three-month mark). In these cases, there's an easy solution...
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Make Mirrors Your Friend

To get a better view of your vulva, grab a handheld mirror and adjust it as necessary. "This would be great so you can watch yourself doing it, and if you are heavily pregnant, you can see beneath your belly," Moore says.

Another option? "Makeup mirrors with a suction cup that attach to tile are perfect if you have that kind of setup in your shower or bath," Shays says. "This way, you can see what you're doing. Just move the mirror to a lower position so it's pointing upward toward your bikini line."
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Multitask In The Bath

If the seated position gets to a point where it's too difficult, hop in the tub. "Run a bath with warm water, as that will soften the skin and make the hair easier to shave," Shays says. "Don't use any fancy soaps or salts since that can irritate the skin and the vulva. Also, make sure the water is not hot — that can make you light headed, which is obviously dangerous."

To get a better angle at the bikini line, bring one leg up and rest it on the rim of the tub, turning it outward just a bit to expose the area.
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When All Else Fails, Trim

At the end of the day, if you can't reach around your stomach — and even the mere thought of it exhausts you — don't yield a sharp razor to the area. Focus on trimming instead, because that'll be easier to maintain once it starts to itch during regrowth (which, let's be honest, will happen). Moore recommends using a comb to brush up the hairs for easier snipping — just make sure you're not using one with a sharp point. "Trim the bikini line with baby scissors [that have rounded edges] instead," Shays says. "Those are much safer."
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