Is Lube Safe To Use During Pregnancy – And Options That Are

Is it safe to use lube during pregnancy? Yes — as long as you’re using the right ones and avoiding potentially disruptive ingredients.
Photograph Of Pregnant Woman Sitting On Fluffy Bedding While Lovingly Holding Her Pregnant Belly
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Updated:July 2023

While personal lubricant can be very safe to use during pregnancy, it isn’t always.

Here’s what you need to know about using lube during pregnancy:

  • During pregnancy, a mucus plug forms within the cervix, which acts as a seal that protects the uterus from anything within the vagina (including bacteria, viruses, or foreign substances). For this reason, there is little to no risk of personal lubricant affecting your baby.
  • The same holds true for lubes that create a warming or cooling effect. With the mucus plug in place, a fetus in the womb will not be exposed to such effects.
  • Unsafe lube ingredients that disrupt the vagina’s healthy microbiome could potentially lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis — which not only puts you at higher risk of STIs but preterm labor, as well.
  • There is little research into the way lubricant ingredients absorbed by your body might affect a growing fetus, however, personal lubricants that contain unsafe ingredients should be avoided as a measure of caution regardless.
  • Water-based and silicone-based lubricants are safest during pregnancy, but oil-based lubricants should be avoided because they increase the risk of vaginal infections like yeast or bacterial vaginosis.
  • During pregnancy, you may find that you don’t even need personal lubricant, as hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy tend to lead to an increase in vaginal discharge.
  • If your doctor has advised you to refrain from penetrative sexual activity for any reason, such as pregnancy complications, heed that advice and do not have sex — using lube will not make it “safer.”

As long as a personal lubricant is made from body-safe ingredients and you haven’t been advised by your doctor to abstain from penetrative sex or sex play, you can safely use lube while pregnant.

Things To Know
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about using lube during pregnancy, including:

Is Lube Safe To Use During Pregnancy?

Close-Up Photograph Of Hands Resting Against Pregnant Belly

The short answer is yes, lube is generally safe to use during pregnancy.

Your cervix is sealed shut and protected by a thick layer of mucus, known as the mucus plug, which stays in place until after 37 weeks of pregnancy — once the pregnancy is considered “full term.”

For this reason, there is no need to worry about lube sneaking into your uterus or affecting your baby.

It won’t.

The same holds true for lubricants that offer sensation — like warming, tingling, or cooling lubes.

These ingredients will not cross the barrier of the mucus plug and will not cause your baby to feel any sensations if you use this type of lubricant.

The biggest safety concern around finding a pregnancy-safe lube, however, is more about maintaining vaginal health and avoiding potential problems.

Lube additives can change the balance of the typically good bacteria inside your vagina or affect the vagina’s natural pH.

Disruptions to the vaginal microbiome can cause infections or other health problems such as bacterial vaginosis, which can increase the risk of STIs and may be linked to preterm labor.

On that note, oil-based lubricants can increase the risk of vaginal infections like yeast or bacterial vaginosis and should be avoided during pregnancy for that reason.

Silicone-based lubes, as long as they are made from body-safe ingredients, are not absorbed by the body and can be used safely while pregnant.

While everyone’s body is different, during pregnancy, it is best to go with a simple water-based lubricant that is made from safe ingredients and pH-balanced with a body-friendly osmolality.

If you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our top pregnancy-safe recommendations below.

Top Pregnancy-Safe Lube Recommendations:

→ For more, read: 6 Water-Based Lubes That Are Safe And Glycerin/Paraben Free

Finally, if you’re experiencing pregnancy complications (or are at risk for them) and your doctor has advised you to refrain from vaginal penetration of any kind, it is important to note that lube will not make sex safer.

Lube can do a lot of things and while it might make sex “easier” by reducing friction, it won’t make the activity safer if you’ve been advised to avoid sex entirely.

Follow your doctor’s advice and if you’re at all unsure — and ask them for guidance.

Do You Need Lube During Pregnancy?

Not necessarily.

While there is an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy, every person’s body is unique.

If you find that your body’s natural lubrication provides enough of a reduction in friction during sex play, you may not need to reach for a bottle of lube at all.

On the other hand, if you find that you prefer the feeling of personal lubricant or your body isn’t producing adequate lubrication on its own, there’s nothing wrong with using a lube made from safe ingredients.

Unsafe Lube Ingredients You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

As we mentioned above, certain lubes have some ingredients that you should steer clear of.

Lube ingredients to avoid during pregnancy include: 

  • Parabens
  • Glycerin
  • Capsaicin
  • Benzocaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Mineral oil
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Any crude oil-based ingredients
  • Plant-based oils (during pregnancy only)
  • Fragrances, dyes, or flavorings (particularly sugar-based ingredients)

Glycerin can increase your risk of yeast infections, as it acts as a food source for Candida albicans — the fungi responsible for most yeast infections.

Parabens (fancy-speak for chemical preservatives) and other additives can upset your vaginal pH and increase the risk of infections.

As we mentioned earlier, infections like bacterial vaginosis can occur when the vaginal microbiome is disturbed — and that particular type of infection may increase the risk of preterm labor.

Additionally, lubes made from plant-based oils, while generally considered safe, can increase the risk of vaginal infections like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.

For this reason, they should be avoided during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Safe Lube

When looking for a pregnancy-safe lube, a pH-balanced, water-based lubricant is the best bet.

However, silicone lubricants are not absorbed by the body and are perfectly safe for use during pregnancy, as long as they are made from body-safe silicones.

Oil-based products, on the other hand, can increase the risk of yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis and are best avoided during pregnancy.

As mentioned before, however, some products are better than others.

A water-based lube safe for pregnancy should be free of chemicals and additives that may disrupt your natural pH or cause inflammation or infections.

With all the options out there, it can be daunting to find the right one.

We’ve put together a list of our picks for pregnancy-safe lube based on our research and testing.

Top Pregnancy-Safe Lube Recommendations:

→ For more, read: 6 Water-Based Lubes That Are Safe And Glycerin/Paraben Free

Pregnancy-Safe Lube Alternatives

If water-based lubes are not your thing, or you want a safe lube alternative that’s available at home, the safest option is aloe vera gel.

Aloe vera gel has a pH that’s perfectly balanced for the vaginal environment and is easily accessible — just make sure to use 100% pure gel.

Additionally, if you have latex allergies, it is vital that the gel is removed thoroughly from the leaf, as aloe leaves contain natural latex.

Most other lube alternatives are oil-based, including coconut oil, vitamin E oil, shea butter, and others.

These are normally considered very safe — however, they can increase the risk of developing yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis — the latter possibly being linked to preterm labor.

For this reason, it is best to avoid any oil-based lube alternative — at least during pregnancy.

We’ve made a complete list of alternative lubes, including ones to avoid, with plenty of information here.

In Conclusion

So, is it safe to use lube during pregnancy?

Absolutely — as long as you’re using the best one for your body’s needs.

Water-based lubes are the safest choice, but keep in mind that you should avoid ingredients or additives that may disrupt the vaginal microbiome or put your vaginal health at risk (particularly for yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis).

Frankly, it’s more about what is not in the bottle that matters most.

*Editor’s note: Justin Perlman contributed research for this article.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Everything Lube hub, an in-depth and evolving resource that comprehensively explores all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

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