Physical Activity And IVF Cycles

Most women don’t give much thought to routine activities while trying to conceive. Aside from eating a healthy diet and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, most people think that the real restrictions occur during pregnancy. But for women and couples trying to conceive through fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), some adjustments may be necessary to provide the best possible outcomes and successfully conceive.

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Can women exercise during IVF treatment?

So, is physical activity such as exercise allowed while a woman is undergoing an IVF cycle? The short answer is yes, but with some limitations. A common concern many women face during fertility treatments such as IVF is the risk of weight gain caused by the medications. Experts have found a correlation between weight ranges and IVF success. While weight isn’t the only contributing factor, women that were within normal weight ranges tended to have higher success rates than women that were overweight or obese.

Learning when to adjust activities

Experts agree that exercising before an IVF cycle is perfectly fine. Both high- and low-intensity activities are acceptable during the prep stage. However, once a cycle has started, women should especially avoid high-intensity workouts or intense cardio as these activities can interfere with the medications. Specifically, IVF medications are designed to stimulate the ovaries and aid in the release of multiple eggs. But strenuous workouts can put stress on the body, preventing the ovaries from working properly. Many experts recommend completely avoiding exercises immediately before egg retrieval and during the embryo transfer stages.

Which exercises are approved during IVF

Just because a woman is undergoing IVF doesn’t mean that exercise is completely restricted. However, low-impact exercises should be prioritized to offer the optimal conditions for an IVF cycle to be effective. For example, gentle exercises such as walking or swimming are generally approved by fertility specialists because of the low levels of stress placed on the body. However, women should always consult a physician or fertility specialist to confirm which exercises are safe to perform.

So is running off the table?

During certain stages in IVF cycles, egg retrieval, and embryo transfers, running should usually be avoided because the exercise is categorized as high-impact. However, after conception has been achieved, depending on a woman’s activity level before conception, running may be an acceptable activity to continue. Women that want to stay active during IVF and pregnancy should speak with a fertility specialist or OB/GYN before beginning a new exercise routine and to confirm that the activity won’t negatively impact fertility treatments.

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