Is it safe to shave during early pregnancy?

Many women wonder if it is safe to shave their legs, underarms, and bikini area during early pregnancy. There are some concerns that shaving could increase the risk of infection or irritation in the sensitive vaginal area. However, with some simple precautions, most women can safely shave during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Is Shaving Recommended in Early Pregnancy?

Most healthcare providers agree that shaving during early pregnancy is generally considered safe. There is no evidence that shaving will directly harm the developing baby in the first trimester. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that routine grooming like shaving is permissible throughout pregnancy.

That said, there are some caveats to keep in mind. Some doctors advise holding off on shaving the bikini area, especially if you are at high risk for preterm labor. The hormones of pregnancy can cause the skin and hair to grow faster, resulting in issues like ingrown hairs or folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles). These complications are annoying at best and possibly dangerous at worst.

Ask Your Doctor First if You Have:

  • A history of preterm labor
  • Vaginal infections
  • Skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis
  • Deep cuts from shaving

Your doctor may recommend avoiding shaving the genitals during early pregnancy if you have any of these conditions. Most say shaving your legs and underarms is perfectly fine in the first trimester.

Precautions for Shaving During Pregnancy

If your healthcare provider gives you the green light, you can safely shave during pregnancy by following these simple precautions:

Use a Clean, Sharp Razor

Dull razors are more likely to cut or scrape the skin. This can open you up to infection. Replace disposable razors after 5-7 shaves. Make sure to thoroughly wash reusable razors after each use.

Shave With a Moisturizing Shave Gel or Cream

Lathering up with a moisturizing shave cream helps protect delicate skin. Avoid shaving “dry” without any cream. Dry shaving increases skin irritation.

Shave In Direction of Hair Growth

Shaving against the grain often causes razor burn, bumps, and ingrown hairs. Going in the same direction of hair growth is gentler on the skin.

Rinse Skin Well and Apply Moisturizer

Rinsing away all traces of shave cream and applying a gentle, unscented moisturizer helps soothe skin and prevent itchiness. Opt for products designed for sensitive skin.

Avoid Shaving Over Moles or Warts

Pregnant skin is more prone to abnormalities like moles and skin tags. Take care not to nick these while shaving, as it can lead to infection or excess bleeding.

Don’t Share Razors With Your Partner

Sharing razors, even with your significant other, greatly increases chances of transmitting infections like HPV or molluscum contagiosum. Use your own clean razor each time you shave.

What About Shaving the Bikini Area?

Shaving the pubic hair is generally discouraged in the first trimester. The hormonal changes of pregnancy cause increased blood flow to the vaginal area, making it easier to develop irritation, folliculitis, or cuts after shaving. However, shaving may be permitted if:

  • You use an electric razor designed for pubic hair removal
  • Your doctor confirms you have no history of vaginal infection
  • You take all recommended precautions (see above)

Most doctors recommend avoiding waxing, depilatories, laser hair removal, or electrolysis during pregnancy. If you want to remove pubic hair, shaving is considered the safest method in early pregnancy but should still be discussed with your provider first.

Shaving Tips for Pregnant Women

To minimize skin irritation when shaving during pregnancy:

  • Shave at the end of a bath or shower when skin is soaked and supple
  • Use a shaving cream, oil, or gel – avoid soap
  • Shave in the direction your hair grows
  • Rinse the blade often to prevent clogging
  • Carefully shave around moles or skin tags
  • Rinse and pat your skin dry, don’t rub
  • Apply a soothing lotion after shaving to moisturize skin
  • Wear loose cotton underwear and avoid tight clothes that may chafe
  • Avoid shaving areas with rashes, cuts, or bites

What About Nicks and Cuts?

It’s common to experience minor nicks, cuts, and scrapes while shaving. Small shaving wounds heal quickly and are usually nothing to worry about. However, take extra care of any shaving-related wounds while pregnant. Even tiny cuts have a slight risk of infection.

Follow these tips for dealing with shaving cuts and scrapes during pregnancy:

  • Rinse the cut with clean, warm water.
  • Apply pressure with a clean washcloth or piece of gauze until bleeding stops.
  • Clean the area again with mild soap and pat dry.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment designed for cuts.
  • Cover with a bandage if needed for protection.
  • Watch for signs of infection like redness, swelling, oozing, or skin warmth.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you notice any infection signs.

While shaving cuts are usually harmless, it’s important to keep the area clean and dry to avoid complications. Deep cuts or those that bleed heavily should be evaluated by your doctor.

Shaving and Skin Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings many changes that can affect your shaving routine, including:

Increased Hair Growth

More circulating hormones cause many women to notice faster hair growth during pregnancy, especially on the legs and pubic area. You may need to shave more frequently to keep up.

Darkened Skin on the Upper Lip, Nipples, and Abdomen

Increased melanin can lead to darker pigmentation on body areas like the upper lip, areolas, and down the midline of the abdomen. Use caution when shaving darker areas.

Dry and Itchy Skin

Hormonal changes can leave skin drier than normal during pregnancy. Moisturize liberally before and after shaving to prevent itchiness and irritation.

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Increased blood volume puts more pressure on veins. Bluish spider veins and knotted varicose veins are common, especially on the legs. Shave gently over surface veins to avoid injuring them.

Fatigue and Difficulty Reaching Areas

Tiredness and a growing belly make shaving tough for some women, especially toward the end of the first trimester. Try propping your leg on a chair or side of the tub for better access.

Skin Tags and Moles

Pregnant women commonly develop harmless skin tags and moles, particularly around the neck and chest. Avoid nicking these and report any abnormal growths to your doctor.

When to Avoid Shaving

In some cases, it may be best to stop shaving during early pregnancy. Avoid shaving if you experience:

  • Oozing or infected hair follicles
  • Inflamed ingrown hairs
  • Itchy rashes or hives
  • Extremely dry or broken skin
  • Unexplained bleeding

These can signal an infection or skin condition that could worsen with shaving. See your obstetrician if you notice any of these problems before resuming shaving.

Alternative Hair Removal Options

If you develop a skin reaction or just want to give your skin a break from shaving, there are a few alternatives to consider:

Hair Removal Creams

Depilatory creams dissolve hair at the skin’s surface. Look for creams designed for sensitive skin. Do a patch test first. Avoid using them on the genital region.

Waxing and Sugaring

Waxing and sugaring to remove hair are controversial during pregnancy. Small studies suggest they are safe early on but can increase local inflammation for some women. Talk to your doctor before waxing while pregnant.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal directs pulses of light at hair follicles to damage them and hinder regrowth. This method is not recommended during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, due to uncertain safety.


Electrolysis kills hair follicles by inserting a tiny probe into each pore while sending a current to them. This precise method may be continued in early pregnancy for those already receiving treatments, but starting electrolysis while pregnant is not advised.

Trimming with Scissors or Clippers

If you want to skip shaving, an easy alternative is to trim hair short using scissors or electric clippers designed for body hair. This allows hair to regrow normally without skin irritation.

Avoiding Hair Removal Entirely

It’s also perfectly fine to stop removing hair during pregnancy, especially if you develop skin sensitivity. Many women embrace the “pregnancy fuzz” until after delivery.

Getting Professional Help With Shaving

If you are having trouble shaving safely during pregnancy, consider seeing an esthetician or dermatologist. They can provide services like:

  • Professional leg and bikini shaving
  • Waxing of safe body areas
  • Treatment for issues like ingrown hairs
  • Soothing waxing for facial hair

Some spas and dermatology offices have specially trained staff to assist pregnant clients with hair removal. They often use pregnancy-safe products and techniques to prevent irritation.

Does Your Doctor Recommend Stopping?

While most providers permit pregnant patients to continue shaving, some may advise stopping if you have:

  • A high-risk pregnancy
  • Previous preterm labor
  • Persistent skin irritation or infection
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • History of hemorrhage after skin procedures

Have an open discussion with your doctor about shaving during pregnancy. Be sure to follow their recommendations based on your specific medical history.

Listen to Your Body

Every woman responds differently to shaving during pregnancy. While many can safely shave their entire pregnancy, some develop skin or pelvic issues that warrant stopping. Allow your symptoms and comfort level to guide your personal grooming practices. Stay tuned into any skin changes or problems.


Shaving during early pregnancy is typically considered low-risk by healthcare providers, as long as some basic precautions are followed. Gentle hair removal may continue with a doctor’s approval. But be conservative about shaving the genital region, especially if you have any previous vaginal infections or complications. Your comfort level is most important – skip shaving if it causes any skin irritation or distress. With some care and common sense, most women can safely maintain their normal grooming routines through the first trimester of pregnancy.

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