Exercise After Embryo Transfer
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been a go-to solution for couples having trouble conceiving naturally. With IVF, the ovaries are stimulated to release healthy eggs. When the eggs are mature, all are retrieved and fertilized in a lab with the partner’s or a donor’s sperm. The next step is the embryo transfer, where 1 or more eggs are transferred into the woman’s uterus in hopes of implantation. Knowing what exercises are allowed during this pivotal time can help maximize the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Benefits of working out
Exercise is beneficial to overall health but can be especially important for women undergoing fertility treatment. Staying active can raise heart rate, help maintain weight, and lower stress levels. Exercise can also strengthen the heart, which improves blood flow in the body. Women undergoing fertility treatment can usually engage in light exercise at some parts of the IVF cycle but must refrain from working out during other more pivotal times.
Lifting weights during the 2-week wait
After embryo transfer, there is a 2-week wait before the woman is asked to return to the clinic for a pregnancy test. This waiting period allows the embryo time to implant inside the woman’s uterus. The old practice during the 2-week wait was to avoid physical activity, so the uterus could rest. However, a recent study concluded that women who remain active between transfer and testing for pregnancy tend to have more successful outcomes. Exercising during this period also promotes the release of certain hormones that assist in the growth and development of the fetus. Another benefit of remaining active is that the endorphins can help keep stress low and spirits high.
The intensity of exercises a woman can do after embryo transfer depends on overall activity levels before IVF treatment. For previously active women, moderate exercises such as jogging, swimming, and cycling are allowed. Weightlifting may also be beneficial, but remember to go slow and avoid powerlifting. Women who were sedentary before IVF treatment should start with low-intensity exercises such as walking and light yoga. Stretching routines at home can also help increase flexibility and improve blood circulation. Any activities that could cause trauma to the abdomen, such as kickboxing, should be avoided during this time.
Along with exercising after embryo transfer, try to eat a well-balanced diet rich in protein and other nutrients such as vitamins D, E, and magnesium. A prenatal vitamin can help cover the bases and ensure the woman gets the necessary amount of folic acid. Staying hydrated is also very important during this period. A healthy lifestyle improves the chances of a successful pregnancy and reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
The bottom line is that current research supports the continuation of low or moderate levels of exercise for women who were previously active. All IVF patients can benefit from low-intensity activities such as walking or yoga during the early stages of fertility treatment. Workout to improve blood flow and lower stress, and soon enough, a positive pregnancy test may appear.