Getting Pregnant and Improving Fertility: Exercise

Exercise and fertility are very closely linked and exercise can be a determining factor in an individual's chances of getting pregnant. In fact, getting either too little or too much exercise can hinder female fertility. This is because exercise affects the amount of body fat that a woman has; having a body fat level that is between 10 and 15 percent above or below normal levels (between 20 and 27 percent) can lead to infertility. Therefore, it is important to consider the effects of exercise on your fertility, as exercise can either improve your chances of getting pregnant or decrease them.

Exercise and Infertility

Exercise-induced infertility is a major cause of difficulty for women in the process of getting pregnant. This is because too little body fat can result in irregular ovulation, as body fat helps to regulate the body's production of estrogen. Women who have too little body fat as a result of excessive exercise often experience oligomenorrhea (infrequent or light menstruation) and in some cases even amenorrhea (in which menstruation does not occur at all). Both of these conditions can have adverse effects on female fertility and thereby negatively influence a woman's chances of getting pregnant.

Exercise and Weight Maintenance

Alternatively, obesity can also have a negative impact on a woman's ability to get pregnant. In fact, 12% of infertility cases are due to being overweight or obese. This is because fat increases the amount of estrogen produced by the body. Since 30% of estrogen comes from fat cells, having higher levels of fat leads to an increased production of estrogen, which can affect ovulation, menstruation and fertility. Obesity also increases the risk of being resistant to insulin, which results in the body's overproduction of insulin, a process that in turn prevents ovulation.

Exercise can be used to establish a healthy weight so as to improve a woman's odds of getting pregnant. A moderate exercise program should be formulated with the supervision of a physician so as to minimize health complications associated with obesity. Exercises can include walking, swimming, cycling and yoga. An exercise regimen should be developed slowly, until the individual is working out for up to 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week.

Exercise and Stress

Developing a healthy exercise routine is an excellent way to increase fertility as well as to improve overall healthy. Exercise reduces high stress levels, which are linked to the development of cardiovascular diseases and depression, which can in turn negatively affect ovulation and menstruation. Exercise can also be used to help counteract the stress associated with fertility treatment procedures such as IVF.

Exercise, such as Pilates and yoga, releases endorphins which condition the body to respond in a more healthy manner to stress and also improves overall mental health, thereby improving a woman's chances of getting pregnant.  Get more information about excercise and pregnancy by checking out our pregnancy videos.

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