Too much or too little exercise while you’re trying to get pregnant can make it harder for you to conceive. However, this is entirely dependent on the individual – so what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to fitness and fertility?

Regular exercise before trying to conceive

Regular exercise before you start trying to conceive can help you feel better throughout your pregnancy, give you more stamina for labour and help you shift baby weight more quickly.

Moderate physical activity was found to benefit women of all body types in a study examining the impact of exercise on fertility. Intense exercise appeared to increase the time to conception for those of normal weight, but not for overweight women.

Normal-weight women in the study who said they exercised vigorously for five or more hours a week were 42% less likely to get pregnant in any given month than women who didn’t exercise at all.

The study included around 3000 women who were trying to get pregnant and who weren’t receiving infertility treatments.

What is considered to be moderate exercise?

Activities like walking, leisurely cycling and gardening are considered to be moderate forms of exercise, while running, aerobics, gymnastics, swimming and intense cycling count as vigorous exercise.

Is it okay to exercise on my most fertile days?

Yes – if working out is already part of your lifestyle, then there’s no reason you should stop on your fertile days.

If you don’t exercise regularly and you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to start adding more activity into your life – more moderate exercise, such as a 20- to 30-minute walk.

You might also want to try out yoga if you’re looking for a type of exercise that’ll relieve a little bit of stress while you’re trying for a baby.

Overweight exercise and fertility

If you’re overweight (usually defined as having a BMI of 30 or above) and you’re trying for a baby, the best way to do this is by eating a healthy diet and committing to regular daily exercise. It’s really important that you reach a healthy BMI before you become pregnant, as being overweight while you’re carrying can pose risks to both you and your baby.

Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial – a little each day will go a long way, particularly if you’re getting all the right nutrients from your diet, too. Start with 15 minutes each day, and gradually increase this to 30-minute sessions and you’ll soon start to feel and notice the difference.

Mr Andrew Drakeley 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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