A request from an Obstetrician was made this week – to write something that she can share online and, for once, not have to read “in secret”.
‘This is going to be challenging’ I thought. I need to write something clean that she can proudly follow, without being struck off for bringing the NHS into disrepute – by being seen to support something that contains satire, filth or reference to mowing down the father of my child with a tank. Aside from that, it’s also important to me that I write on a theme that is relevant to an Obstetrician’s life, and that it’s something that meets my preference to go outside the box…
I conclude that the ‘outside of the box’ isn’t a bad idea if taken literally; I like to write about things that aren’t spoken about, and the outside of a woman’s box is very relevant when you think about this in the context of obstetrics. So my theme is decided: What is the etiquette for pubic hair styling when it comes to labour?
The Obstetrician confirmed that this is indeed a topic of useful discussion; with many women asking her advice on what they should do with their pubic hair prior to giving birth. And it just so happens that I have experience in this field and I’m in a very strong position to advise on what not to do when it comes to preparing your pubes for labour…
Having grown a chest that bulged out of a 40G bra and a waistline that landed me the nickname of ‘The Easter Egg’ during my pregnancy, I was not only unable to see my bikini line, I couldn’t even reach the thing. Aware I should do something pre-birth, in terms of hairdressing, I collared my then partner during his weekly shave and asked him if he would oblige a quick trim of my neither region, but to leave the ‘groin bits’ as I’d get them neatly waxed; mistake on two accounts.
Firstly, labour came sooner than expected and I didn’t get round to waxing the sides. Secondly he’d taken a grade one razor to the main section – rendering me the owner of a very uncool ‘reversed Mohican’ of my pubic hair. It looked like a Terry Nutkins tribute (for those born after 1980, please see picture above).
Not only did I not see the extent of the damage until after I’d given birth, but I had every complication under the sun during my labour, which meant that about 30 people had seen my artwork. I mentioned this to the Obstetrician, and she responds: “In my entire career, I’ve never seen anything that even remotely comes near to what you just described.”
I use the opportunity to move away from the shameful hair issue and relay my birthing complications – interested to know if in fact I did nearly die during labour. The conversation contains the following snippet:
Me: “…so they hit the emergency button, a team of people came running in. One doctor took one look at the blood-loss and had a sudden look of shock; I remember pleading with him to stop looking so panicked because I was scared I was going to die.
Obstetrician: “haemorrhaging it’s pretty horrific Hannah, but I can assure you that, even with several pints of blood-loss, the state of your pubic hair would have been the likely cause of his shocked face.”
If I can spare others the same pain of embarrassment, I may feel a little better. I move into journalist mode…
Me: “so what do you advise expectant mothers to do?
Obstetrician: “get rid of the lot – it makes it stitching people up easier.”
So on the good side, some light has been shed on the matter and I hope it helps others.
I shall resist the temptation to go off on a political tangent here and also interpret the title ‘bikini line etiquette for women in labour’ being the Labour Party; despite this being right up my street.
Instead, I shall leave it here, and try not to feel too much guilt over the likely number of Post Traumatic Stress cases I caused with my 2011 designer vagina.