Benefits of Exercise on Fertility

women exercising for better fertility

Benefits of Exercise on Fertility

Is this the year you’re trying to get pregnant? Or have you recently found out you’re pregnant after months or years of fertility treatments? Congratulations. This is an exciting time. Every aspect of your body’s wellbeing – including diet, exercise, and sleep – impacts fertility.

The Benefits of Exercise on Fertility & Pregnancy

Exercise is an important part of any fertility plan, both before and after you get pregnant. The benefits of regular exercise – including weight management, blood sugar balance, and immunity boosting – also benefit your chances of getting pregnant.

Once you’re pregnant, the right types of exercise also support a healthy, full-term pregnancy while helping you develop and maintain the stamina required for labor and delivery.

Exercising While Trying to Conceive

We now know that taking care of your body while trying to conceive is as important to fertility as taking care of your body when pregnant. That includes exercising moderately for at least 30 minutes per day, on an average of five days per week.

Moderation is Key

Several studies have shown that moderate exercise, as defined above, is beneficial to fertility.  However, exercise that is considered extreme (ultra-marathons, 100 mile bike races, other activities that the average person would not be able to accomplish) has been shown to be detrimental to fertility.

Come up with an exercise schedule that focuses on general health as well as weight management goals. In the world of fertility, we prioritize a patient’s body mass index (BMI = weight in kg / height in meters2). Studies show women with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 have the highest fertility rates. A BMI from 25-30 is considered overweight and 30-35 is obese.

Focus on exercises that build strength, stamina, and balance

Focusing on exercise forms that build on strength, stamina, and balance are all good for a future pregnant body – especially one that needs to make it through the challenge of labor and delivery.

We recommend participating in exercises that translate seamlessly into healthy pregnancy exercise:

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running (if you’re already a runner, you can certainly keep running while trying to conceive and also in pregnancy. Just use your body as a guide once you’re pregnant and if you are out of breath or have dizziness or other unexpected symptoms, slow it down)
  • Cycling
  • Exercise classes
  • Swimming/water exercise
  • Dancing
  • Hiking

Anything that puts you at risk for falling, being hit, or significant impact (sky diving, horseback riding, scuba diving, or similar activities) should be avoided during pregnancy but are fine while you’re trying to conceive.

Safe Exercise After You’re Pregnant

As one of Virginia’s premier fertility centers, we know first-hand what patients experience when they find out they are finally pregnant. The desire to climb onto a very soft pillow and not move until the baby is born is understandable. You’ve worked so hard to get here, you want to do everything in your power to keep that baby in place for the full 40 weeks of pregnancy.

As a result, many women who get pregnant after multiple fertility treatments are afraid that exercise will hurt the baby. It won’t. In fact, mild to moderate exercise helps you and your baby have a healthier pregnancy.  There is no heart rate limit when you are pregnant and no body temperature while exercising which is considered to be unsafe.  Again, just use your body as a guide and if something hurts, makes you significantly out of breath, leads to chest pain or uterine contractions, then decrease or stop doing that activity.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions

Do you have questions about exercise and fertility, or what to do (and not do) once you’re pregnant? The team at Virginia Fertility and IVF is here to help and support you along your fertility journey. Contact us to learn more.

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