Creating life is an absolute miracle. When you look at the science around pregnancy, you may start to wonder how we are able to fall pregnant at all. Trying for a baby can be a time of high stress, anxiety and concern about doing the “right” thing for conception. For some couples, trying to conceive comes easily. Other couples require more effort to fall pregnant. It takes timing, testing and tears when it doesn’t happen. One topic women often ask me about is the best type of exercise when trying to conceive.
As women we have so much pressure on us for our bodies to work to become pregnant. There are feelings that we should be doing more or less to create the perfect conditions for a pregnancy to occur. We worry about what to eat and what not to eat. Eating too much or eating too little. We worry about moving too much or not moving enough. We worry about being too fat or too thin. Thinking we’re too old or our eggs are too old. Most of what you read shares all the things a women should be doing. Very little is shared about what men can do. Last time I checked, it takes two to tango right?
So here’s the truth of the matter. Our bodies are miraculous beings. If the sperm and the egg meet with their little chromosomes doing the right thing, a pregnancy will occur. Sometimes, they just don’t develop. More often it has nothing to do with the external environment that has been created by the actions of the mother.
My advice around exercise when trying to conceive is to exercise like you are already pregnant.
If you are looking at improving your health prior to and while trying to conceive, you are likely to fall pregnant during your training program. It’s ideal to continue to move and build strength throughout pregnancy so why not train like you are pregnant. This gives you a head start and makes it easier to continue.
Benefits of Exercise when Trying to Conceive
- Prepares your body for Pregnancy: A good training program will prepare you for the demands of pregnancy, labour and motherhood.
- Improve your chances of conceiving: There is evidence that having a lower body fat percentage improves fertility. This relates to the hormonal changes that occur in the body with a larger percentage. Slow and steady weight loss is more beneficial than stressing your body in a quick fix.
- Stress Reduction: People to tell you to relax when trying to conceive but how do you even do that? Getting outdoors, taking a deep breath and doing something you love can take your mind off the task at hand.
- Improves Stamina: Well you need energy for the baby making right? Also once pregnant, it will help with the ever changing and growing body.
Mental health is as important as physical health so choose activities that are good for your body and mind
Safe Exercise When Trying To Conceive
- Aim to complete moderate intensity exercise – think a brisk walk, body weight exercises or appropriate weight lifting programs for your current fitness.
- Avoid starting new activities, especially high intensity training.
- Consider adding gentle forms of Yoga, Meditation and Pilates as part of your training.
- Find activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good. Maybe dancing, swimming or strength training.
- Avoid activities that make you feel exhausted. You need to save some energy for the baby making.
- Focus on building strength through your whole body, improving posture and pelvic floor function.
If you find you are not conceiving, please speak to your GP for testing and referral to a fertility specialist if needed. Did you know? 1 in 6 couples experience infertility according to Monash IVF. It’s more common than we realise and there are options for you to achieve a pregnancy and start your family.