How Vaginal pH Can Affect Pregnancy & FertilityCheckable Health
It is no secret that the female body goes through a number of changes during pregnancy, from physical and emotional to chemical and hormonal. After all, your body is housing another human being and preparing itself for labor. With that said, pregnancy can cause fluctuations in your vaginal pH, causing levels to be out-of-whack which affects your vaginal microbiome.
What is a Vaginal Microbiome, You Ask?
A vaginal microbiome is a community of different bacteria living harmoniously in the vagina. When balanced, the vagina maintains a low, acidic pH that protects the good bacteria and allows them to thrive while killing off harmful bacteria. When vaginal pH is out of range, it can lead to an imbalance of bacteria and yeast levels, causing many womanly problems, including yeast infections, bacterial infections, BV, and more. A normal vaginal pH level for a pregnant woman is slightly acidic, in the range between 3.8 and 4.5. During pregnancy, maintaining an acidic vaginal environment is key to keeping the vagina clean and infection-free.
Yeast infections, UTIs, and other bacterial infections are very common during pregnancy due to hormonal fluctuations. The pH balance, however, provides a natural barrier against harmful bacteria. A pH balance below 4.5 indicates that certain types of bacteria multiply in the vagina, which may cause preterm labor. Always check with your OBGYN if you have any irregular symptoms, including an unpleasant odor or itch. Most uncomplicated vaginal infections are easily treatable.
It is important to mention that an imbalanced vaginal pH can also cause some fertility issues. pH levels that are too low can cause infertility because sperm thrives in a more alkaline environment. Sperm travels through the vagina and the cervical canal before reaching the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg. If there is an imbalance, it could cause damage to the sperm to prevent it from fertilizing the egg. During ovulation, pH levels rise, and surges in hormones are meant to maintain a pH level that is optimal to increase the chance that sperm reaches the egg. In fact, when the vaginal pH levels are increasingly high (between 7 and 12), sperm can survive up to 48 hours within the female reproductive system. Cool huh?
Tips to Keep Your Vagina's pH Balanced During or Before Pregnancy
Fluctuations in pH balance are very normal, especially during pregnancy. OBGYNs all recommend taking probiotics along with prenatal vitamins to keep you and your baby healthy. Test your vaginal pH frequently to ensure your levels are just right.
- Eat probiotics- Whether in a supplement or gummy form or foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and raw sauerkraut.
- Wear cotton underwear
- Practice good feminine hygiene
- Maintain a healthy diet that low in sugar and high in probiotics
- Use condoms during sex
- Drink tons of water
Life is too short to sit in a doctor’s office
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get valuable healthcare tips and tricks in your inbox!
Sign up now and unsubscribe anytime.
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
- Press the space key then arrow keys to make a selection.