concept of vaginal pH and fertility

Unveiling the Hidden Link Between Vaginal pH and Fertility

In (yawn-inducing) Chemistry lessons, you’ve probably learned about pH levels — and thought you never have to bother with it again when #adulting. 

Surprise, surprise, getting up close and personal with your vaginal pH will be a valuable addition to your conception knowledge once you learned about how vaginal pH levels affect fertility.

Ahead, we’ll share all you need to know about the biochemical changes of your lower anatomy at different periods in time. You’ll also find out how your pH levels change when you’re aroused compared to when you’re not. 

Most importantly, you’ll discover the optimal vaginal pH to help sperm survive long enough to fertilize the egg. Keep reading to uncover the crucial facts that can help you maximize your chances of pregnancy. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice. 

All About the Vaginal pH 💦

The vaginal tract is an important part of the reproductive system for people who ovulate and want to get pregnant. 

In a healthy vagina, here’s what the pH levels look like, according to a 2021 study:

  • Lower vaginal tract: The lower portion of the vagina is the closest to the vaginal opening. It has an acidic environment with a pH level of 3.9-4.5.
  • Upper vaginal tract: As you move higher up the vaginal tract, the pH balance gradually increases to 5.7.
  • Near the cervix: The nearer you get to the cervix and ovaries, the more the vaginal environment becomes alkaline as its pH levels increase to ≥7.7.

The reason why your lower vaginal tract sports an acidic pH level is due to the presence of lactobacilli, aka “good bacteria.”

According to research, a healthy vaginal microbiome is “dominated by lactobacillus.” This bacterial strain produces lactic acid, which creates an acidic environment in the lower to upper vaginal tract.

While these make for some fun facts at your next Trivia game, how does the above info help you on your quest to procreation?

Here’s what a 2018 study had to say about the various fertility-focused benefits of lactic acid:

  • Kills harmful bacteria and viruses to minimize the risk of vaginal and yeast infections (more on that later!)
  • Helps vaginal cells survive for as long as possible
  • Stops inflammation that might otherwise negatively affect your unborn child

As you can see, the ideal amount of lactobacilli in your vay-jay-jay can potentially maximize fertility success rates for those who are trying to conceive. Let’s learn more in the next section 🙂 


How Do My Vaginal pH Levels Affect My Fertility and Pregnancy Chances? 🤔

optimal vaginal pH help woman get pregnant

The million-dollar question (for couples who are trying to conceive, at least): How does your vaginal pH affect your fertility and pregnancy chances? 

The answer boils down to one crucial factor: sperm survivability. 


At What pH Level, Can Sperm Survive?

It might surprise you to hear this: Sperm actually don’t survive well in acidic environments — like in the lower vaginal tract! (Yes, we were mindblown by this fact, too 🤯)

Per a 2015 scientific paper, sperm thrives in slightly alkaline environments:

  • For optimal sperm viability and motility, your vaginal pH needs to be 7.0-8.5.
  • When the pH level drops below 6.0, sperm motility (how efficiently your swimmers move toward the egg) declines.
  • After ejaculation into the female body, semen’s alkaline pH can temporarily protect sperm. But eventually, it will succumb to the too-acidic environment in your intimate area.

A too-acidic vaginal pH balance works against sperm, so it’s harder for you to reach your fertility goals. 

To complicate matters, if your partner has abnormal sperm parameters like low semen volume*, this means their ejaculate is now less resistant to vaginal acidity. As a result, their semen is even more likely to fall prey to the acidic lower vaginal tract. 

*The twoplus note: Not sure if your partner has low semen volume? Check out our post on “How Much Semen Does It Take To Get Pregnant?” 


Does My Vaginal pH Change Throughout My Menstrual Cycle? 🩸

TLDR; your vaginal pH falls and surges throughout your menstrual cycle, courtesy of fluctuating hormone levels:

  • For most of your cycle, your vaginal pH remains acidic, around 3.8-4.5.
  • From the 2nd to the 14th day of your menstrual cycle, your body’s estrogen levels increase before ovulation. This causes your vaginal pH to become more acidic from 6.3-6.6 to 4.0-4.4, give or take.
  • During ovulation, your body produces more luteinizing hormone. This helps to keep your vaginal pH levels within the alkaline range of 7.0-14.0.

If you recall, an alkaline vaginal environment is non-toxic to sperm. 

Procreative sex during ovulation means that your partner’s swimmers now have a higher chance of swimming through the cervical mucus toward the fallopian tubes in order to reach their dream destination: ✨Ovaries✨ 


Does My Vaginal pH Change During Sex? 👩‍❤️‍👨 👩‍❤️‍👩 💑

Another surprising fact for those trying to get pregnant: Your vaginal pH does change during sex, depending on your arousal levels.

  • When you’re sufficiently aroused during sex, the vagina produces more secretions that cause its pH levels to transform from acidic to neutral in mere seconds. 
  • This alkaline status is maintained within the vagina for roughly two hours post-ejaculation. Voila! Your partner’s semen now has extra temporary protection from your vagina’s usual acidity. 

The more you know when trying to conceive! 

P.S. If you need some help in the foreplay department, you’ll love our handy guide about “10 Easy Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life.” 


What Negatively Affects Your Vaginal pH Levels? ⛔️

vaginal pH levels negatively affected

Now that you’ve learned the importance of maintaining the right vaginal pH level for sperm survival, let’s talk about what negatively affects your vaginal health so you know what to avoid. 


1. Douching

Many of us know the perils of douching, especially when it comes to your fertility health.

Introducing scented soaps and hygiene washes into your private parts can disrupt your vaginal flora, altering its pH levels unfavorably.

In turn, this could elevate the risk of vaginal infections. Think bacterial vaginosis, that’s characterized by bacterial overgrowth. Or yeast infections, aka vaginal candidiasis, caused by Candida overgrowth.

Cue the nasty-looking vaginal discharge and other uncomfortable symptoms that means sex isn’t on the cards tonight. 


2. Hormonal Imbalances

When your body’s hormonal production doesn’t sync up, it spells trouble for your vaginal pH levels as you cycle through your period.

For example, suppose your estrogen levels rise before ovulation, but your body doesn’t secrete enough luteinizing hormone during your fertile window. In that case, your vaginal pH remains acidic during this prime babymaking period.

Many factors can contribute to hormonal imbalances, such as an unhealthy diet, a lack of sleep, or chronic stress. To learn more, read our detailed post on hormone imbalance


3. Non-Fertility-Friendly Lubricants

ICYDK, not all vaginal lubes are created equal for playtime during procreative sex.

You may be shocked to hear from a 2019 study that “most vaginal lubricants are sperm toxic and therefore should not be used by couples trying-to-conceive.” 😳

Case in point: Aquagel, marketed as “non-spermicidal,” is actually one of the most sperm-toxic lubes — at concentrations as low as 5%, Aquagel demolished sperm motility.

If you’d like to read more on the subject, head to our tell-all guide on Fertility-Friendly Lubricants


How Can I Check My Vaginal pH Levels? 📈

Not sure if your vaginal pH is too acidic for becoming a pregnant woman any time soon? Don’t worry; you can check your vaginal pH in the comfort of your home.

Brands like Juno Bio offer at-home vaginal pH test kits to better understand your ecosystem down there. All you have to do is order the kit, wait for it to be delivered, and follow the instructions on the packaging to get your results.

Note: If you’re experiencing symptoms like unusual vaginal fluids or suspect an infection, it’s best to consult a licensed healthcare professional instead of relying on at-home test kits. 


Can I Get Pregnant Even With Acidic Vaginal pH?

If you’re trying to get pregnant with an acidic vaginal pH, we have some tips and tricks to share 😉 


1. Be Sufficiently Aroused Before & During Sex 👄 

best sex positions for couples trying to conceive

As mentioned earlier, your vaginal secretes arousal fluids that help increase the acidic pH levels to a neutral one. 

To give sperm the best chance of surviving in your lower anatomy, it’s in your best interest — and pleasure — to be aroused before and during intercourse.

Our sage advice: Don’t skip the foreplay! 


2. Incorporate Healthy Lifestyle Changes 🍀 

Triggers for an acidic vaginal pH can be traced to different lifestyle factors. So, it might help to tweak your lifestyle to address these triggers. 

Some examples include:

  • Take probiotics: If you’re experiencing an infection or just finished a course of antibiotics, adding probiotics to your diet could help rebalance your microbiome flora down there. This could be in the form of probiotics-rich foods like yogurt and kefir or probiotic supplements. As always, check in with your primary doctor if you’re unsure.
  • Choose a fertility-friendly lubricant: Your lube of choice should be pH-formulated to match the pH levels of your fertile cervical mucus and your partner’s semen. Go for PEB-cleared lubricants, which are gamete-, fertilization- and embryo-compatible. If you haven’t heard, PEB is a Product Code by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for fertility-friendly lubes.
  • Avoid douching: Skip the scented products, as your vagina is a miraculous organ capable of self-cleaning. If you need more persuasion, research showed that “women who douched were 30% less likely to become pregnant each month they attempted pregnancy.”


3. Try At-Home Fertility Aids 🧰 

At-home fertility aids like the twoplus Applicator Extra and Sperm Guide may also help you work toward a chance of pregnancy success. 

twoplus Applicator Extra vs Sperm Guide comparison table

The Applicator Extra is best for folks who want to avoid the stress of scheduled sex or struggle with performance anxiety. 

twoplus Applicator Extra 3-pack at-home fertility aid

But if you prefer skin-to-skin contact with your partner during intercourse, then you’ll want to bring the Sperm Guide to bed with you. 

Try The Sperm Guide Tonight

Make the Most of Your Vaginal pH When Trying To Get Pregnant 💫 

Just like the changing faces of the moon, your vaginal pH rises and falls during your cycle. By understanding how vaginal acidity works against sperm survival, you’re now in the best position to tap into this knowledge for better chances of conception. 

Firstly, uncover your vaginal pH with at-home test kits to see if it’s normal or not. If you’re still struggling to conceive with an acidic pH level during ovulation or sex, follow our tips and tricks to have an easier time on your fertility journey. 

From prioritizing foreplay to trying at-home fertility aids, you can make the most of your vaginal pH when trying to get pregnant ❤️