Abortion is one of the most common, normal, and safest medical procedures available. Odds are good you know many people who have had an abortion, even if they never talk about it. Yet abortion remains shrouded in secrecy, thanks to right wing attacks that shame abortion-seekers and providers. As a result, people having an abortion rarely know what to expect.
“Do I need to shave before my abortion?” is one of the most common questions we hear from callers to our abortion clinic access hotline. The answer is simple: No, but it’s your body, and you can safely make whatever choice feels most comfortable to you.
Do I have to shave for my abortion?
An abortion doesn’t involve an incision into the skin, so unlike some other surgeries, a doctor doesn’t need to shave the skin and then clean it. Instead, a doctor performs an abortion through the vagina, which is a self-cleaning organ. You don’t need to shave the area around the vagina, or any other part of your body, before having an abortion.
There’s no evidence that doing so offers any benefit, or reduces the risk of infection. In fact, there’s a small risk that shaving could actually allow bacteria to enter tiny cuts, increasing the risk of skin infection. Pubic hair is there for a reason, and the safest (and easiest!) strategy is to leave it in place.
If you’re self-conscious about your body, know that your doctor won’t be paying attention to how it looks. People with every imaginable body hair configuration seek abortions. No matter what you’re sporting, it will be mundane and uninteresting to your doctor.
Is it ok if I want to shave?
While there’s no reason to shave before an abortion, it’s fine if you want to shave, too. Your doctor has seen bodies of all shapes and sizes, including many women who choose to shave. The risk of a skin infection is so small that it’s not worth avoiding shaving over, especially if shaving makes you feel more comfortable.
Is there anything else I need to do to prepare for my abortion?
An abortion is a very simple medical procedure that doesn’t require hospitalization, and usually doesn’t require any special preparation. If you’re having anesthesia, your provider may ask you to avoid food and water the night before your procedure after about midnight. Contact your abortion clinic to be sure.
While you’re preparing for your abortion, consider putting together a self-care package to make recovery smoother. Here are our tips for caring for yourself after abortion.