Therefore, the theory is that what makes a lubricant ideal for conception is a higher pH level and because most lubricants have a pH level lower than sperm (between 4 - 5 pH levels) they have been thought by some that they may work against an optimal and fertile environment for sperm. This is why some suspect that they may cause problems for couples having difficulty in trying to get pregnant. However, the Kinsey Institute has found that couples who were trying to conceive typically did not have problems in using lubricants while TTC but for those who are having difficulty it may be something to consider.
When a woman is ovulating and ready for conception her body produces more alkaline pH environment in the vagina (pH levels around 7 - 7.9 range) as sperm is most happy in a 7.4 pH level or higher. Therefore, what makes a lubricant ideal for conception is a higher pH level and because most lubricants have a pH level lower than ideal (between 4-5 pH) they may work against an optimal and fertile environment for sperm. That is why some suspect that they may cause problems for couples having difficulty in trying to get pregnant. The Kinsey Institute has found that couples who were trying to conceive typically did not have problems in using lubricants while TTC but for those who are having difficulty it may be something to consider.
However, it is important to understand that the vagina produces acid that helps to protect against infections and viruses and bringing the pH level up in the vaginal environment may weaken the ability to fight off those infections and viruses which is why using a lubricant that has a very high pH level on an ongoing basis is not a good idea. Especially when you understand that women who are pregnant and have untreated infections like bacterial vaginosis are at increased risk for complications such as early labor or even miscarriage.
A healthy vaginal pH level at the lowest level is 3.7 and the average is about 4 to 4.5 which is what many lubricants on the market offer in pH levels. When a toxic imbalance occurs in the vagina, it drives the pH of the vagina up to 6 or higher creating ideal conditions for unhealthy bacteria to thrive so again, using a pH level in this range for vaginal health is typically ideal.
Potential Problems With TTC Lubricants
There are only a few fertility friendly lubricants or as they are better known as "trying to conceive" (TTC) lubricants on the market today. However, some of the more popular ones are not something that we recommend because they contain parabens which are known hormone disrupters and something that may cause health issues. (For more on this read more about parabens in lubricants). Examples of popular lubricants that have parabens in them that are marketed to be used when trying to get pregnant are Conceive Plus, Pre-seed and Astroglide TTC which all contain parabens such as methylparaben and propylparaben (listed under their ingredients) and that is why we do not carry them.
Furthermore, there is evidence that lubricants that have high pH levels (found in the TTC lubricants may promote unhealthy bacterial growth causing a variety of infections. This then creates the question of whether or not to use them and if so which one to choose. Before we get into that, let's review more information so that you can become educated and empowered in your decision making on this topic... after all, good health is the most important thing when it comes to both you and your future baby.
Avoiding Certain Lubricants
definitely avoid certain lubricants as using lubricants that are
not intended for vaginal use such as petroleum jelly and oils
can promote conditions for both yeast and bacterial infections
as well as damage vaginal tissue, increase susceptibility to sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs / STIs).
FDA Labeling of TTC Lubricants
The FDA has created a classification system for lubricants and unless a lubricant has gone through rigorous testing that it is clinically proven to be compatible with sperm, gamete, embryo and the fertilization process then it has to provide a warning label on the packaging letting consumers know that it may not be safe to use when trying to get pregnant. This labeling almost means that a lubricant is assumed guilty before proven innocent so it may be unnecessarily scaring consumers into not using lubricants at all.
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