Laser Hair Removal And Pregnant Women: A Good Idea Or Not?

Hair growth and pregnancy go hand in hand. The influx of hormones will make you grow hair from your legs, your arms, your belly… you may even get facial hair. Hey, it happens. I had legs like Chewbacca (along with a bikini area to match!) when I was pregnant. It could be a lot worse, a little unsightly hair is really no big deal.

But it bothers some of us, and let's face it, shaving while pregnant can be pretty tough unless you have a pretty good grasp of the basic and a few advanced yoga moves, the flexibility of a gymnast, and the patience of a saint.

And let's not get into the massive amount of choices when it comes to creams, gels, and other things meant to melt away, cut, or otherwise remove a natural part of your body… It can get incredibly overwhelming, incredibly quickly.

I won't lie to you: I'm a member of the hair removal brigade. I shave, I keep everything cleaned up, and I did so when pregnant as well. Thing is though, what if the urge strikes you to get laser hair removal… and you so happen to be pregnant. Is it safe?

The answer? We don't know. There is no research telling us if laser hair removal during pregnancy is safe for the fetus, so it's strongly not recommended. And while you're pregnant, laser hair removal can actually lead to permanent discoloration of the skin, so for now, stick to the basic facial.

While no research has proven that laser hair removal is dangerous to the health of the baby, longer studies are needed to rule out any long-term effects. Since there are no conclusive reports or findings, some clinics will still treat pregnant patients but may avoid the abdominal, breast, or bikini area; however, most reputable clinics choose to err on the side of caution and will tell their clients to wait.

Remember, also, that laser treatments have the potential to be very, very painful… and many believe that pain and stress can affect the mom-to-be's body in a negative way. Research does show that stress during pregnancy has been connected to ADHD and, in very severe cases, miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight.

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6 Laser Hair Removal Facts

Laser treatments use non-ionizing radiation, which produces intense heat to destroy unwanted hair at the roots without causing any cell mutation. Laser light beams only penetrate a few millimeters, however, non-ionizing radiation can be absorbed by surrounding tissue. There are no negative effects on the patient, but doctors are not sure how it could impact the fetus.

For some people, laser hair removal can be slightly painful, so some clinics use a numbing cream. Of course, since the body absorbs anything applied to the skin, it's not recommended to use this cream if you're pregnant. This can make the procedure very unpleasant, and may be good reason to wait until after baby is born.

Skin can become more sensitive during pregnancy, so you may be more likely to experience pain, redness, or irritation.

The number of needed treatments, and the length of time between re-treatments depends on the duration of the hair's growth cycle. Since hormone changes associated with pregnancy can stimulate the maturation of dormant hair follicles, or shorten the growth cycle, some women seem to find that hair growth comes back much faster when they're pregnant.

Therefore, because laser hair removal can be very pricey, it may be a really good idea to wait until your hormones have returned to normal before undergoing treatment. 

5 You Can Resume Treatments Later

Laser hair removal can be really awkward and uncomfortable during the end of pregnancy, especially on sensitive areas. Since it takes between 6-12 months to achieve complete results, you need to consider the length of treatment before you begin. Doctors don't know if the risks to the baby increase with the number of treatments, so it's best to wait and begin a treatment program after the baby is born.

Stopping treatment if you become pregnant will NOT hinder progress! If you're already getting laser hair removal treatments and you discover that you're now pregnant, it's strongly recommended that you postpone the rest of your sessions until pot delivery. Although you will put the process on hold, you are not ruining the progress already achieved.

Laser treatment is a great cosmetic procedure, and it can be both effective and long term. But there are too many unanswered laser hair removal pregnancy questions regarding the risk of this method on the health of an unborn baby. You do have other options though. 

4 Electrolysis

Just like laser hair removal, many healthcare providers do not recommend you using electrolysis during pregnancy, because of the lack of information as to the effects on the fetus. That said, some doctors simply suggest avoiding it during the last trimester.

If you did choose to go the electrolysis route, then you need to avoid having it done on the breasts in the last trimester especially if you plan to breastfeed. You should also avoid the abdomen because it's very sensitive, and would be uncomfortable for you during pregnancy.

There are two kinds of electrolysis, thermolysis and galvanic. Thermolysis is the kind of electrolysis that is sometimes considered safe, because it does not involve electricity. Galvanic involves electricity and is not recommended at all because the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid, which acts as a conductor of electricity.

Thermolysis does not have an electrical current and does not flow through the body, and has not been found to be harmful to pregnant women or the fetus. However, many electrologists require a letter from your doctor authorizing electrolysis treatment during pregnancy. 

3 Waxing

Waxing, the big yank, pulling up the rugs… whatever you call it, all I call it personally is OUCH! But, some people are better with that kind of pain than I am. You may discover, to your dismay, that your skin reacts differently to waxing during pregnancy. Some people even pass out! (yes, it HAS happened!)

Your skin may be more sensitive, so using a soothing antiseptic lotion before and after waxing may help decrease burning or stinging, and it may also prevent infection, reduce irritation, and lessen redness that waxing may cause.

Make sure, if you go this route, that the skin is clean, and that your technician (if in a salon) wears gloves and uses a new spatula between applications to prevent germs and infections from spreading.

However, it is always best to check with a healthcare provider before you wax, because there may be a specific reason that waxing is not recommended for you during pregnancy. Oh, and all of these precautions apply to sugaring as well, so use the same cautions. 

2 Creams And Depilatories

To start off, the main concern with depilatories during pregnancy are the active ingredients, specifically, barium sulfide powder and calcium thioglycolate. There is no evidence they are harmful during pregnancy, but there are no studies that prove they are safe either.

Now, these creams work by applying the cream to your skin, where they work with your hair's protein structure to dissolve the hair into a goopy, gel-like mess that can be wiped up with a tissue. To play it extra safe, avoid all products with suspect ingredients, including dyes, chemicals, and parabens.

Next, as with all cosmetics, you should try it on a test patch of skin to see how your body reacts to it. The chemicals, once they're exposed to air, leave a strong smell, which can be pretty unpleasant for you and in some cases, has been known to cause an allergic reaction. You will want to take extra precautions, such as having a well ventilated area and proper timing, so that chemical burns don't happen.

Basically, the same things you'd do to help you prevent problems with coloring your hair while pregnant? Do those. The results from these hair removal creams can last up to 2 weeks, but they can also last less, especially when pregnant.

Also, keep in mind that MOST of these products are NOT meant to be used in the bikini area (unless it's specifically made for that area) and can be very irritating to the bikini area (and lower, for those who like it ALL bare down there). When you wipe away the product, use cold water to rinse, because cold water can cause the pores to shrink, thus reducing the amount of product that can be absorbed. 

1 Shaving

Yes, yes… I know. Shaving during pregnancy is a pain. However, it's also the cheapest and most convenient option overall. Does it require a mirror and sometimes yoga to accomplish it in the last months? Absolutely. But it's still the most convenient option.

You can make it more fun by involving your partner in the process, but if you're like me, you may not exactly trust him near those sensitive lady bits… But, if you're brave, it can be a fun bonding process for you and your partner.

Use a moisturizer daily, so when you shave, your skin will be soft and supple. Moisturizers with vitamin E have helped some women to need to shave less frequently. The risk to this method? Nicks and cuts that can, unfortunately, end up infected. (And simply hurt like all hell when it happens!)

If you do get a cut, you can put some antibiotic cream on it to help prevent infection, yes, even in those intimate areas, just don't lay it on super thick. A definite no-no, though… Shaving in the shower, where it's way too easy to lose your balance, and where one slip can be serious in many ways, including a serious fall, or a deep laceration. It's far more recommended to sit in the shower to shave.

Keep in mind that many salons and spas are more than willing to work with and help pregnant women who want to continue with hair removal during pregnancy, just be sure that they're reputable and that they're sanitary.

You don't want to end up with a nasty, preventable infection. If you choose to go that route, call the salon or spa to ask about what services they offer, and if they technicians are trained to work with expectant mothers.

If hair removal during pregnancy gets too difficult, remember, you don't HAVE to shave it all off or remove it! A good partner will understand how difficult it is to do routine maintenance, and won't push the subject. They will simply support you.

They may even offer to help you if it bothers them that badly, but it's always your choice to say yes, please help, or no, just leave it. If you're ok with some hair, then who is anyone to judge! 

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