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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Exercise Limitations During Treatment

By Michael Vermesh on September 15, 2014

Cryopreservation in actionExercise is great for you, but is there a chance that you may be exercising too much? And can your activity level have an impact on effective fertility treatment options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

The team at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles has been fielding a number of questions like the above lately. Let's take a moment to address these issues right now.

Should I exercise while I undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

While exercise is ideal for achieving overall wellness, fertility specialists actually recommend that in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients go easy on their exercise routines in order to ensure successful treatment.

Vigorous Exercise Can Negatively Affect the Ovaries During IVF

One of the first steps of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the use of fertility drugs to induce ovulation in the patient. When these fertility drugs are taken for ovulation induction, they cause a woman's ovaries to become enlarged. If a woman exercises excessively and/or intensely while her ovaries are enlarged, this increases her risk of experiencing ovarian torsion, a painful problem in which the ovary twists in on itself.

While ovarian torsion is rare, avoiding vigorous exercise during IVF treatment is a good way to prevent this from even becoming an issue.

Exercise Recommendations While Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

While you are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), patients can still exercise, but it's important that the exercises be relatively low impact. Patients should avoid weight lifting, intense cardio, and major workouts on the abs.

Some recommended exercises include the following:

  • Light yoga (avoid heated rooms)
  • Light pilates
  • Walking
  • Elliptical running machines
  • Stretching

Can exercise BEFORE fertility treatment affect success?

One of the most interesting findings when it comes to exercise and in vitro fertilization (IVF) is that vigorous exercise can actually contribute to infertility.

Results of a medical study found that women who worked out four hours a week before they underwent IVF were 40% less likely to have a successful treatment experience. As is turns out, too much exercise may be a detriment to your fertility. We need to emphasize “may”, however.

Vigorous Exercise and Overall Fertility: Keep the Following in Mind

There are a few things to keep in mind with the above study and its results.

It's been suggested that the reason for these infertility issues in women who work out vigorously may be due to altered hormone levels in their bodies. Exercise may affect the production of some hormones, resulting in difficulty getting pregnant. And yet, even this must be qualified for two reasons.

First of all, the activity level of the women involved in the study may be unrelated to an existing infertility issue that is independent of their exercise habits.

Second, it's possible that many women who exercise vigorously do not require fertility treatment and that the numbers gathered regarding activity level and infertility represent a skewed sample size of all women who exercise vigorously.

Helping You with Your Fertility Treatment Needs

During your in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, we will be sure to address all your needs carefully. That means helping you maintain your overall wellness and fitness while also increasing your fertility and the chances you have of starting a family of your own. We are here to help you.

Learn More About In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

For more information about the best things that you can do to ensure successful IVF and fertility treatment, be sure to contact our fertility specialists today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you start the family of your dreams.

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