Pregnancy and sexual problems
WHY USE LUBE WHILE TRYING TO CONCEIVE?
Well, it makes baby-making a little more fun. Lube decreases friction and improves the sexual experience for both partners.
Many heterosexual couples who are actively trying to conceive are having sex on a specific timetable, typically every day or every other day during their fertile window (the 5 days prior and 1 day following ovulation). Having sex on a schedule—and perhaps even any anxiety or stress around conception—may mean either partner isn’t as relaxed or aroused as they’d hope to be during intercourse.
Research seems to quantify this. One study examined the self-reported experiences of 900 TTC couples. Researchers found that 88% of couples stated that, while trying to conceive, vaginal dryness negatively affected intimacy sometimes, often, or always. Additionally, 76% reported that vaginal dryness episodes increased some or a lot while trying to get pregnant. Lube can be helpful in making sex more comfortable, and in this study, 26% of couples often or always used lube when trying to conceive.
Additional considerations come into play for couples using Clomid (clomiphene citrate), a fertility medication. Clomid works by blocking estrogen production, and estrogen is key to vaginal moisture—so women who are taking Clomid may experience vaginal dryness, even if that’s never been an issue for them before. Lubricant can be very helpful for patients using Clomid for timed intercourse.
But according to lab studies lubricant can influence the motility of sperm.
WILL USING LUBRICANT WHILE TRYING TO CONCEIVE AFFECT MY CHANCES OF GETTING PREGNANT?
So, laboratory studies demonstrate that lube can significantly impair sperm. But what does that mean for real-life use?
Interestingly, it seems that lube use doesn’t have much of an effect on chances of natural conception. A few different studies have looked at lubricant use among women who are trying to get pregnant. In one, nearly 300 participants kept a record of their menstrual cycles, intercourse frequency, and use of lube. Approximately 43% of women reported that they occasionally (29%) or frequently (14%) used lube while trying to conceive. Participants who used lube—even regularly—were no less likely to become pregnant than those who never used lube.
Another study looked specifically at time to pregnancy (or how long it took a couple to conceive), and how it correlated with lube use. Over 6,000 women categorized as “pregnancy planners” completed questionnaires about their use of personal lubricants while trying to conceive. Researchers found that fertility rates were not decreased for lube users, and that use of lubricants did not seem to impact time to pregnancy.
THE USE OF LUBE DURING PREGNANCY
Doctors believe it’s safe to use lube during pregnancy because your cervix is tightly closed, preventing anything like lubricant from actually getting to your baby.
In general, here are some of the things to avoid:
These are the ingredients added to make you feel hot, cold, or tingly. While they’re supposed to increase pleasure, they can have strong (and sometimes painful) effects on the tissues of your vagina, especially when they’re already engorged because of pregnancy.
Some flavor additives contain sugar, which increases your risk of yeast infections — something that you’re already at elevated risk for during pregnancy.
Perfumes increase your chances of irritation and infection.
These are ingredients like propylene glycol, benzene, and benzoic acid. These can kill beneficial bacteria and alter the vaginal microbiome and pH and lead to an infection. The vaginal microbiome is also very important for baby’s health, notes this 2016 study.
It’s best to avoid parabens during pregnancy because they affect the endocrine system.
Research has suggested they could increase your risk of gestational diabetes and could affect your baby’s development.
Anything you’re allergic to
You’ll also want to check the ingredient list to make sure you’re not sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients.
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