Can Fertility Lube Impact Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?
Lube can be a game changer when it comes to sex. It has the power to elevate your comfort, reduce friction, and increase pleasure or stimulation. And while approximately 65 per cent of American women have reported using lubricant to enhance sex, it can also be helpful for couples trying to get pregnant when it comes to arousal.
“Sometimes, if you’re really in your head about trying to conceive, you can lose your arousal because sex now becomes a project and you get wrapped up in having to have sex during ovulation,” says Maureen Whelihan, MD, an ob-gyn at Elite GYN Care of The Palm Beaches. Plus, studies report that people trying to conceive have an increase in vaginal dryness. “If you feel pressure [to get pregnant], you might not get aroused because sex becomes a function and not because you are wet and want your partner.”
But don’t panic. Vaginal dryness doesn’t necessarily decrease your chances of getting pregnant, but it can make sex uncomfortable or less than hot. So to help improve the sexual experience for both partners and enhance lubrication, it’s helpful to add a little lube, Dr. Whelihan says. But that begs two questions: which type of lube should you use, and does “fertility lube” really work?
What Are Fertility Lubes?
First things first. There are no lubes on the market that will up your chances of getting pregnant, lube is not a form of birth control, and “fertility friendly” lubes are not a treatment for infertility. That being said, some lubes may be more “sperm friendly” than others.
In recent years, studies have shown that certain lubes containing ingredients such as paraben, glycerin, silicone, and spermicide can impact sperm mobility and may reduce or even stop the sperm’s ability to “swim” toward the egg. As a result, the FDA began branding certain lubes as “fertility safe” once research demonstrated a particular product had no detrimental effects on sperm, eggs, and/or fertilization.
And while certain lubes could negatively impact sperm mobility, it’s important to note that these reports can be misleading, Dr. Whelihan says. “In these studies, they usually put sperm in lube samples and see how well the swimmers swim,” she explains. “But this is not really an accurate rendition of what happens in the vagina because you are not depositing sperm in a vagina that’s full of lube.”
In other words, it’s OK if you’ve used a traditional lube. “You want to take everything with a grain of salt and not feel guilty that what you’ve been using is completely wrong,” Dr. Whelihan says. If you’re trying to get pregnant and concerned about the lube you’re using, have a conversation with your provider. “They won’t always think to ask what lubricant you’re using,” Dr. Whelihan says. So be sure to let them know.
How Does Fertility Lube Work?
The main benefit of fertility lube, or fertility-friendly lube, is to make sex a little more hot and steamy by lubricating the vagina and creating an environment to support sperm on their voyage to fertilize the egg.
When applying fertility lube (or any lube, really), be sure to read the instructions for application. Most lubricants can be applied a few different ways, including rubbing it on the external genitalia (vulva) or the head or the shaft of the penis, Dr. Whelihan says. “Once things get going, if it’s a pleasurable encounter, then natural lubrication will continue the action.”
How to Choose a Fertility Lube
Dr. Whelihan recommends Pre-Seed Fertility Lubricant and Good Clean Love Biogenesis Fertility Lubricant. If you’re out shopping and looking for a lube that passes the fertility test, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Check for FDA approval: Just because a lube isn’t marketed as “fertility friendly” doesn’t mean it will necessarily harm your chances of natural conception, but using an FDA-approved lube is an easy “green light” that there are no impacts on the fertilization process.
Read the ingredients: Paraben, glycerin, silicone, and spermicide have been found to negatively impact sperm mobility, so be mindful of lubes containing these ingredients.
Talk with your doctor: “Doctors don’t know what they don’t know, so having the conversation about your sexual health and lube is always a win,” Dr. Whelihan says. If you are concerned about your fertility and the lube you use, talk with your ob-gyn to get the thumbs up.