Exercise could aid fertility

By Shayna Brouker • Published: June 13th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Trying to get pregnant? It might not be the news you were hoping for, but the latest research in fertility found that adding a little sweat to your get-pregnant regimen just might do the trick. A recent study shows that just the right amount of moderate exercise increased the chance of conception for women of all body weights.

The study of more than 3,000 women labeled intense exercise as running, biking and vigorous swimming, while moderate exercise was considered walking, leisurely bicycling and golfing. Among normal-weight women who were already struggling to conceive, intense workout sessions decreased the chance of conception by 42 percent. This effect was not seen in women who were overweight or obese. But one thing is certain, for women of all shapes and sizes, moderate exercise was linked with slightly speeding up the time it took to conceive.

Regardless, if you’ve got a good workout routine going, there’s no need to stop sweating as you try for a bun in the oven, especially not if your time in the gym helps you relieve stress. Carrying extra pounds is a risk factor for infertility and dropping five to 10 percent of body weight can dramatically improve ovulation and pregnancy rates. Though O-B-G-Y-Ns in the past cautioned against exercise because they feared it would cause preeclampsia, other studies have found that the opposite is true. Exercise before conception and in the early part of pregnancy can actually protect blood vessels.

More research is needed to determine whether different types of vigorous exercise affect fertility more than others, but until then, physicians encourage women to stay active. Also, if you really want to increase the odds of expecting, eat more foods that are rich in folic acid and organic. A greener, cleaner diet combined with moderate exercise might help you take a few baby steps toward pregnancy.