As you prepare to undergo fertility treatments to help start or grow your family, you likely have many questions about what you can and cannot do to optimize your chances of success. One common area of uncertainty is whether exercise during fertility treatments is safe and beneficial or should be avoided. You want the best possible outcome from your treatments, but you also want to maintain your physical and mental health through exercise if possible.
The research on this topic is complex with some conflicting findings, but the overall consensus is that moderate exercise during fertility treatments is typically fine and in some cases may even improve outcomes. However, intense exercise may reduce fertility for some. The key is finding the right balance for your unique situation based on factors like your age, fertility diagnosis, and treatment protocol. With your doctor’s guidance, you can develop an exercise plan tailored to your needs that will support both your fertility journey and overall wellbeing. The truth is exercise during fertility treatment can absolutely be part of a self-care plan, as long as you are smart and strategic about it.
The Impact of Exercise on Fertility: What the Research Says
According to multiple research studies, moderate exercise during fertility treatments does not negatively impact outcomes. In fact, for certain diagnoses, it may actually improve fertility and the odds of success.
- A 2016 study found that 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times a week led to higher pregnancy and live birth rates in women undergoing IVF. Exercise increased blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, which researchers believe may aid egg maturation and embryo implantation.
- Another study found that in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), engaging in aerobic exercise for at least 3 hours a week significantly increased ovulation and menstrual regularity. This could enhance the effectiveness of fertility drugs and treatments.
- However, intense exercise during an IVF cycle could potentially have a negative impact. A 2014 study found a lower number of mature eggs retrieved from women who did high intensity circuit training during treatment. Light to moderate exercise is optimal.
In summary, most experts agree that regular, mild to moderate exercise during fertility treatments and the IVF process does not reduce success rates and may actually improve outcomes for some conditions. However, intense exercise could potentially have a negative impact on treatment effectiveness. It is best to discuss an exercise plan with your physician to determine what level of activity is right for your specific situation.
– Studies Show Moderate Exercise Has Little to No Impact on Fertility or IVF Success Rates. Vigorous Exercise May Have Some Impact but Effects Seem to Be Temporary.
According to multiple studies, moderate exercise during fertility treatments and IVF has little to no negative impact on outcomes.
- A 2016 study found no significant differences in pregnancy or live birth rates between women who engaged in moderate exercise (30 minutes of walking, 3 times a week) during IVF versus those who did not exercise.
- A review of 10 studies concluded that moderate exercise during Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments did not compromise outcomes. Pregnancy success rates were comparable between exercising and non-exercising groups.
However, more vigorous exercise may temporarily impact fertility during treatment. A small study found significantly lower pregnancy rates in women who engaged in high intensity exercise during IVF versus those who did moderate exercise or none. The effects seemed to disappear by the next IVF cycle, suggesting only a temporary impact.
In summary, research indicates that moderate exercise, such as walking, has no detrimental effect on fertility treatment success. Women should avoid intense exercise during ART, but can safely continue most normal daily activities. As always, check with your physician for guidelines specific to your unique situation.
– A 2016 Study of Over 3,000 Women Found No Link Between Exercise and Reduced Fertility.
A study published in the journal “Fertility and Sterility” in 2016 analyzed the effects of exercise on fertility for 3,628 women undergoing fertility treatment. Researchers found no negative impact on fertility outcomes for women who engaged in moderate exercise such as:
- Light jogging
- Yoga or Pilates
Compared to women who were sedentary, the odds of achieving a live birth were similar for women who exercised moderately during fertility treatment. The study concluded that moderate exercise during assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles does not seem to negatively impact a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant or having a live birth.
– Guidelines Recommend 30 Minutes of Moderate Exercise Most Days of the Week for General Health and Wellbeing During Fertility Treatments. This Level of Activity Will Not Compromise Treatment Success.
Research studies have found that moderate exercise during fertility treatment will not negatively impact your chances of success. In fact, 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week may enhance fertility and overall health. Moderate exercise includes:
- Light jogging
However, intense exercise like long distance running, hot yoga or CrossFit is not recommended during treatment. Strenuous activity may compromise implantation or increase discomfort from side effects. It is best to avoid dehydration and overheating the body.
Light activity provides benefits such as:
- Improved mood and stress reduction. Exercise releases endorphins that act as natural mood boosters and stress relievers.
- Better sleep. Exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythm and leads to higher quality sleep which is essential for fertility.
- Healthier weight. Exercise in combination with a balanced diet will help you achieve a normal BMI which optimizes fertility.
- Increased blood flow. Moderate activity improves circulation which enhances the transportation of hormones and nutrients to the reproductive organs.
In summary, most fertility specialists recommend light to moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week during treatment for the wellbeing of mind and body. Be sure to stay hydrated, avoid overexertion and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about a specific activity. Exercise in moderation will support your fertility journey.
Recommended Types of Exercise During Fertility Treatments
Light exercise during fertility treatments like walking, gentle yoga, and pilates are recommended. These low-impact activities increase blood flow to the reproductive organs without overexerting the body. According to research, 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times a week can boost fertility by up to 40%.
Avoid High Intensity Workouts
While light activity is beneficial, high intensity interval training, CrossFit, and heavy weight lifting can be counterproductive. Studies show that over-exercising may disrupt the menstrual cycle and decrease fertility. It is best to avoid any strenuous activity during treatment.
– Walking, Jogging, Yoga, and Cycling Are Gentle on the Body and Safe During Fertility Treatments. High Intensity Interval Training and Contact Sports Should Be Avoided.
Several types of exercise are considered safe to continue during fertility treatments, while others should be avoided.
Walking, jogging, yoga and cycling
Light cardiovascular exercise like walking, jogging, yoga and cycling are gentle on the body and safe to continue during treatment. These activities increase blood flow to the reproductive organs and release endorphins to help reduce stress, but they are low impact and do not put undue strain on the body. Limit workouts to 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week.
High intensity interval training and contact sports
High intensity interval training, heavy weight lifting and contact sports should be avoided during treatment. These strenuous activities can be taxing on the body and may interfere with egg and embryo development and implantation. They also increase the risks of ovarian torsion or cyst rupture. It is best to avoid anything overly demanding or that could result in direct trauma to the abdomen.
In summary, light activity and exercise in moderation is fine and even encouraged during fertility treatments to support both physical and mental wellbeing. However, anything overly strenuous should be avoided to maximize the chances of success and prevent potential injury. When in doubt, patients should consult their physician on appropriate levels of activity.
– Focus on Low Impact, Moderate Exercise That You Enjoy. This Will Reduce Stress and Promote a Healthy Body And Focus on Low Impact, Moderate Exercise That You Enjoy.
As you proceed through fertility treatments, engaging in regular exercise can help reduce stress and promote a healthy body and mindset. However, vigorous or high-intensity workouts are not recommended during this time. Instead, aim for light to moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times per week. Walking, yoga, swimming or light strength training are excellent options.
Find physical activities that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to doing. This will increase the likelihood of you sticking with a routine during a potentially stressful time. Keeping your body active will boost endorphins and help you maintain a positive outlook. However, be sure to listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself. If you feel overly tired, it is perfectly acceptable to take a day off from exercise. Maintaining a balanced approach is key.
With your doctor’s approval, staying active and following a regular exercise regimen during fertility treatments can have significant benefits for both your physical and mental health. But remember, moderation is key – don’t overdo it. Keep your workouts light, enjoyable and listen to your body.
While the research on exercise during fertility treatments is mixed, the majority of studies point to the benefits of light to moderate activity for both physical and mental health. As you go through the fertility process, make sure to listen to your doctor’s recommendations based on your unique situation. However, for most women, walking, yoga, swimming or light strength training a few times a week can help reduce stress, increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, and promote a sense of control and normalcy during an otherwise difficult experience. Staying active may even increase your chances for success. So take it day by day, be gentle with yourself, but don’t be afraid to exercise – it could be just what you need to stay positive and boost your fertility. The Truth About Exercise During Fertility Treatments What the Research Really Says
Anna Haotanto is the Founder of Zora Health and a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment. Anna’s personal experiences with egg-freezing, PCOS and the challenges of fertility have fueled her mission to provide high-quality information, financing, and support to help women and couples navigate their fertility journeys with confidence. She is also recognised for her achievements in finance, entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment, and has been featured in various media outlets. You can also follow her on Linkedin or Instagram.
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