Is exercise good or bad for your fertility? Are you worried you’re not exercising enough – or too much?

Every woman is different and fertility issues can be down to a variety of causes. Studies have shown that following a healthy diet and living a generally healthy lifestyle can increase your chances of having a baby. But for exercise the evidence is not quite so clear-cut…

Yoga woman meditating and making a zen symbol with her hand.jpeg

What’s the right amount of exercise?

The truth is, some women can exercise strenuously and still get pregnant fairly easily, whereas other women, at a lower level of exertion could be preventing their chances of conceiving altogether.

If you’re just starting to trying for a baby, there’s no reason for you to change your exercise routine. After a while however, if you are having problems with conception you might want to reassess, particularly if you’re performing high-frequency, high-intensity exercise. 

On the other hand, if you don’t regularly exercise, this might also be a problem. Weight is an important factor when it comes to fertility and doctors recommend women stay within a healthy BMI (18.5 to 24.9) in order to conceive. If you’re slightly over the healthy BMI range then it’s probably wise to consider following a healthy diet and performing regular exercise to shave off a few pounds whilst embarking on the baby-making path.

What kind of exercise should I be doing?

There are a number of low-intensity exercises that are recommended to women who are trying to remain healthy whilst trying for a baby:

Fertility boosting yoga

Studies show that yoga can help reduce stress, which can affect fertility. And some experts believe that certain yoga poses can increase blood flow to the pelvis, stimulating hormone producing glands and, in-turn, helping increase your chances of conceiving. Here are a few yoga poses that are said to help with fertility:

Alternating knee to chest – this is a good pose for those who sit at a desk all day. The pose releases tensions and corrects your alignment.

Bridge pose – this pose is supposed to promote resilient connections between your hips, pelvis and lower back, stimulating your immune and endocrine systems.

High lunge with side stretch –

Boost your baby-making ability by opening up your hips and pelvis with the high lunge. You should be able to feel a stretch in the front of your pelvis and hip flexors, and along the side of your torso and hip.

Goddess pose

This pose opens up your hips and pelvis and can help you to relax – something that’s sometimes hard to do when you’re trying for a baby.

Walking and swimming

Both of these are a good choice for sustaining a healthy lifestyle but not putting your body under too much stress whilst trying to get pregnant. Any exercises that you can speak normally whilst doing are fine – skip any activities that demand too much from your body.

If you’re concerned about a new workout routine, or you’re curious about exercise and fertility in general, speak to your doctor who will be able to advise you further on your health and the likely effects on your efforts to conceive.

If you’re wondering what kind of alternative therapies are safe during pregnancy, play our quiz!

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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