Tips For Working Out While Trying To Get Pregnant
We all want to provide our clients with the most accurate health and fitness information available. And while we may assume that working out is a great idea for overall health and fertility, when you’re trying to get pregnant, that’s not the entire story.
Exercise is definitely important for everyone, and being overweight can indeed make it more challenging to get pregnant. The mental health benefits of exercise are also significant, especially if the client is struggling with chronic stress or infertility issues.
But there are some things your clients need to know about the intensity and duration of their workouts and how those can affect their reproductive cycle.
Of course, too much isn’t a good thing in this case. But how much is too much? And how does exercise affect your reproductive cycles? Here’s what the research says.
Workout Intensity and Duration When Trying to Get Pregnant
Remember that diet and nutrition are just as important for fertility health as weight and fitness. Speaking to a fertility coach is an excellent way for clients to get personalized advice based on their overall health history, reproductive cycles, and other related factors.
Although the research on how exercise affects fertility is ongoing, it is clear that too much high-intensity exercise can lead to irregularities in, or even total absence of, the monthly menstrual cycle. On the other hand, it’s also clear that consistent, moderate exercise can improve female fertility, especially in women who are overweight or obese.
Here are the key takeaways you need to know about the research on exercise and fertility:
- High-intensity exercise may inhibit fertility in women who are already at a healthy weight or are underweight.
- Regular, moderate-intensity exercise may improve fertility in women who are overweight.
- Regular, high-intensity exercise may reduce success rates in women undergoing fertility treatment such as IVF or IUI.
- Seven or more hours of high-intensity exercise per week can lead to menstrual and ovulation problems for all women, regardless of overall health and weight.
- Regular, moderate exercise for up to five hours per week can improve fertility in almost all women.
Types of Exercise
We know that clients should adjust their workouts after they become pregnant. But what types of exercise are safe while trying to get pregnant and what adjustments do women who are trying to conceive need to make?
The research recommends limiting high-intensity exercise to less than four hours each when you’re trying to get pregnant. However, there are no limitations on how much moderate or low-intensity exercise you can do.
So, instead of doing HIIT several times a week, you should advise your clients to replace some of their high-intensity workouts with gentler exercises, like walking, yoga, or swimming. They’ll still get the benefits of regular exercise without putting strain on the reproductive system.
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Adjusting the Intensity of Exercise
Keep in mind that people approach exercise in different ways. For example, while one client may enjoy a moderate-intensity walk through the neighborhood, another might hit the pavement hard and fast, taking the most challenging route possible. For the second client, walking would be considered high intensity, while for some, indoor workouts might be the preference.
Offer your clients advice on how they can reduce the intensity of their preferred form of exercise. For example, strength training can be moderate or high intensity, depending on how heavy the weights are, the number of reps, and which exercises you do.
How to Define Moderate Exercise
Tell your clients that moderate exercise should feel sustainable. They should be breathing more profoundly but shouldn’t feel out of breath. They can even wear a heart rate monitor to ensure that their heart rate stays moderate.
What About Clients Who Should Lose Weight?
There is considerable evidence that being overweight or obese is detrimental to female fertility, and we all know that lack of exercise contributes to unhealthy weight gain. So, what advice should you offer to clients who need to lose weight while getting pregnant?
In this case, high-intensity exercise may improve their chances of getting pregnant. These clients don’t need to worry about overdoing it with strenuous exercise. Instead, they’re exercising according to their fitness level and using proper form to reduce the risk of injury.
As you know, diet also plays a significant role in weight loss and fertility. A healthy, whole food diet full of vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fat is always the best choice for weight loss and overall health, including reproductive health.
Losing just 10% of current body weight can result in fertility improvements for overweight women, so they don’t need to reach a specific BMI to see benefits.
Trying to start a family comes with a myriad of emotional highs and lows that can impact your clients’ lives in many ways.
So if they love high-intensity exercise for its mental and physical benefits, they don’t have to give it up completely. But they should dial back the interval and duration of their workouts — unless they need to lose weight.