While you’re thanking your changing hormones for that pregnancy “glow” – fast-growing nails, extra hair, and luminous skin – you may also notice some less exciting changes.
Those same hormones responsible for making you feel like a fertility goddess may also cause body hair to grow faster and pop up in new, unwanted places.
Some women notice hair growth on their chin, upper lips, on the line between their belly button and pubic area, or around their nipples for the first time during pregnancy. You may also notice that the body hair you’re used to seems to be unusually fast-growing and thick.
While some women embrace these changes as part of the pregnancy experience, others may be uncomfortable with how extra hair looks or feels.
If you’re concerned about extra hair growth, know that the changes aren’t permanent. Your body hair situation will probably return to whatever’s normal for you within six months after birth. In the meantime, you may be wondering what you can do to feel more attractive and comfortable in your skin. Many women want to know if they can continue to wax or wax for the first time while pregnant.
First, it’s important to note that there’s no hygienic or medical reason to remove extra body hair, including pubic hair, during pregnancy or at any other time of life.
An online survey of US women recently revealed that 59 percent of women who removed hair from their pubic region thought that it was a “more hygienic” choice. But the truth is that good hygiene can be maintained with or without body hair, and the decision to remove it is a matter of personal preference.
If you’d like to wax during pregnancy for aesthetic reasons, there’s no reason not to as long as you take some basic precautions for your safety (and comfort).
If you’re waxing at home with a kit for the first time, make sure to follow the directions carefully. Wax that’s too hot can cause burns and discomfort, and trying to wax areas you can’t see or reach can be uncomfortable and ineffective. Waxing works best when hair is ¼ inch to ½ inch long, so grow or trim hair to the right length to make waxing easier.
If you’re heading to a salon, try to find one that uses hard wax. Soft wax can be more painful because it grips skin as well as hair. Because of extra blood flow, your skin may be more sensitive than usual during pregnancy. What was uncomfortable before may be unbearable now that you’re expecting!
For your safety, also make sure that the salon is using new applicators for each client and that they aren’t double dipping into the wax pot. If your applicator is going straight from your skin into the warm wax, the previous client’s probably was too. (This is particularly important for bikini waxes. It’s best to avoid doing anything that could hypothetically introduce other women’s vaginal bacteria to your vagina, especially during pregnancy.)
To avoid skin irritation and ingrown hairs, try not to wax more often than every six weeks, especially when dealing with delicate areas. You can maintain the look and feel you want by shaving in between salon visits. Go with the grain of the hair on the first pass and against for the second to minimize irritation and get a close shave. Again, your over-sensitive pregnancy skin will thank you.
While waxing is generally considered safe, the microscopic tears left by pulling out hair leave you a little more vulnerable to certain bacterial and viral infections. Contact your doctor if you notice any signs of infection after a wax. Other methods of hair removal may be less safe for pregnant women. Ask your doctor before using depilatory (hair removal) creams or skin bleaches while pregnant because they can be absorbed through the skin. There’s some concern that these products may not be safe for pregnancy.
This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.