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How Much is Too Much Exercise During IVF

From a young age, the importance of fitness and exercise is ingrained in our head. For many women, daily exercise is a way of life and a positive way to de-stress, keeping your body and mind in shape. Despite all that we’ve been taught about exercise, if you are undergoing IVF treatments you may want to stop and ask yourself, “How much is too much?”

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you put on your running shoes.

Exercising is Important But Don’t Overdue It

If you are a vigorous exerciser or amateur athlete, this is important advice to consider when undergoing IVF. Many studies indicate that increased physical activity decreases rates of conception.

According to a study published by Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who reported exercising four hours or more per week for one to nine years were 40% less likely to have a live birth, and twice as likely to have implantation failure. If you have a healthy exercise routine of approximately 30-60 minutes every other day, it’s important to continue to stay healthy and de-stressed during the fertility process.

Turn Your High Impact into Low Impact

The idea that high-impact exercise lowers your chances of pregnancy is a controversial one. Taking a fall, or simply injuring yourself can add stress which may impact your reproductive health. Many women place blame upon themselves if they are not successful, whether or not certain activities actually change the chances of reproductive success. Consider alternative exercises that lower these risks, like walking outside or on a treadmill, or using a recumbent bike.

Listen to Your Body

If you’re undergoing IVF, chances are you’ll be a little more tired than normal. Instead of climbing to the top of a rope at your CrossFit class, you might feel more like relaxing on the couch with your favorite show. Listen to your body. Not doing so may compromise your health and the success of your IVF treatment.

Look for Alternative Ways to De-stress

We know how important exercise can be to your mental health, especially when undergoing fertility treatments. It might be time to consider alternative methods to manage your stress other than exercise. Try yoga, meditation, or a new hobby like painting or pottery making.

Staying healthy with appropriate exercise and other stress relieving activities will keep you focused on the long-term goal of bringing home your baby will certainly make the time pass more easily.

WENDY SCHILLIGNS, MD, FACOG

Dr. Schillings is a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, obstetrician and gynecologist. She leads all aspects of patient care at RMAPA. In addition, she formerly led the medical team at RE & I Specialist with the Lehigh Valley Physician Group. Dr. Schillings is chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Lehigh Valley Hospital Health Network and Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Penn State College of Medicine.