When you're trying to get pregnant, it's common to wonder whether exercise will interfere with conception. You may think that the bouncing, jumping and wriggling might jostle an egg right out of place. However, according to Drs. Aniruddha and Anjali Malpani, authors of the book "How to Have a Baby: Overcoming Infertility," physical activity during the implantation phase does not affect your chances of conception. Nonetheless, the doctors advise women to take the path of least regret: if you think you might blame yourself for failing to conceive because you exercised during the implantation phase, don't exercise.
What Happens During Implantation?
At the implantation phase of pregnancy, the sperm and egg have already met, the egg has been fertilized and, now called a zygote, has traveled down the fallopian tube toward the uterus. The implantation phase officially begins when the zygote reaches the uterus and burrows, or implants, into the uterine wall and the placenta begins to form. For women undergoing in-vitro fertilization, the implantation phase begins once the fertilized eggs, which are normally referred to as blastocysts, are transferred to her uterus.
Exercise and Implantation
Although you may worry the embryo will have trouble burrowing into the wall or could "fall out" during exercise, this is not the case. Drs. Malpani and Malpani call the uterus a "potential space," meaning it becomes a space only as a baby grows inside of it, just as a balloon only contains space when it is inflated. Prior to pregnancy, the uterus is completely closed inside with all the walls touching each other. Therefore, when a fertilized egg is arrives inside the uterus, it is firmly held within the uterine walls. Gravitational forces cannot cause it to fall out.
Exercise While Trying to Conceive
Most healthy women can continue with their normal exercise routines while trying to conceive. In fact, a moderate amount of exercise can be beneficial to fertility in that it reduces stress, helps you maintain a healthy weight and may even boost blood circulation to your reproductive organs. However, too much exercise can be detrimental to fertility. Excessive exercise can inhibit ovulation and affect your menstrual cycles, which will interfere with conception.
Exercise During IVF
Many doctors and women become more cautious about exercise during the in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, process. Reproductive endocrinologists often advise their female patients to refrain from or severely restrict exercise during the implantation period because they want to minimize any stress on the body during this already emotionally stressful time. Many women forgo exercise during this time because they want to eliminate any factor that has the slightest potential of interfering with implantation.
If you want to exercise during the implantation phase but still worry that it might disrupt implantation, try some mild exercises that do not jar the body excessively. The American Pregnancy Association recommends low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, stationary cycling and yoga.
- Malpani Infertility Clinic: Embryo Transfer & Embryo Implantation
- Pregnancy Today: If I am trying to conceive, should I limit the amount of exercise I do?
- MayoClinic.com: Fetal development: The first trimester
- FitPregnancy: How to Get Pregnant
- "Human Reproduction"; Is a Prolonged Bed Rest Following Embryo Transfer Useful?; Giuseppe Botta, et al.; 1997