When trying to get pregnant, there are a thousand rules to follow: track your ovulation, time sex just right, put your legs up after getting hot and heavy, and so forth. But no one ever warns you that in following all of the steps, you will reach day four of getting busy and your lady parts will throw up a white flag. You consider using a little help to get things going again, but wonder: should you use lubricant when trying to conceive?
"Most women are aware of lubricants for sex, but many are unaware that most lubricants can adversely affect sperm by killing or substantially slowing down their motility," says Dr. Leah S. Millheiser, Director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University School of Medicine, in an email interview with Romper. "Clinical studies report that most top selling lubricants, and even saliva, olive oil, or water, should not be used when trying to conceive. It’s important to use a lubricant that mimics natural fertile fluids and allows swimming sperm to move freely."
Dr. Jaime Knopman, co-founder of TrulyMD, and director at New York's Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, agrees, adding that label reading is important when choosing a lubricant for "baby making."
"Lubricant is definitely not necessary, but is totally acceptable if you want to use it," she tells Romper in an email interview. "But natural lubricants are definitely best."
According to a 2014 study of several lubricants in Fertility and Sterility, most commercial lubricants were found to inhibit sperm’s motility. On the other hand, lubricants made with canola, mustard, and baby oils allowed sperm to continue their journey onward.
As for the new trend in fertility-friendly lubes to hit the market, experts say there’s a lot of hype behind these products when the major factor that matters is that a lube is made from ingredients that will not harm sperm or eggs and are FDA-approved.
"When I initially invented the first 'fertility-lubricant,' we had to undergo specialized testing of the product that replicated the testing used on in vitro fertilization products," explains Dr. Johanna Ellington, sexual health expert for Fairhaven Health. "The FDA realized that many couples were using lubricants that were toxic to sperm and eggs when trying to conceive a child, so they created a new class of lubricant device classification to be used by fertility patients. This means that any lubricant legally using this designation has been screened for safety after exposure to sperm, eggs, and embryos."
Millheiser says an example of one such lubrication is Pre-Seed, which was developed as a safe lubricant for couples who need help getting busy and TTC is on the line.
That's one thing you can bet on when it comes to lube, says Dr. Carol Queen, the staff sexologist at Good Vibrations: a little bit can do wonders when stress or all the sex leaves you feeling a little dry down there.
"There is some belief that orgasm may assist in conception," she tells Romper. "And if this is correct, then lubrication might help someone reach orgasm, since it’s much less likely if intercourse isn’t comfortable and pleasurable."
I mean, let’s not argue with the woman.