The Dos and Don'ts of Exercising During IVF
In vitro fertilization is one of the most tried and true methods of ART, or assisted reproductive technology. During IVF, multiple eggs are retrieved from the intended mother and fertilized in a lab. In order to retrieve multiple eggs instead of a single one, medications are prescribed to stimulate the ovaries to release these eggs.
When multiple eggs are stimulated, ovaries become enlarged, which runs the risk of developing a rare but serious condition known as ovarian torsion. This is when the ovary, and sometimes fallopian tubes, become twisted on the supporting tissues, cutting off the blood supply to the ligament. Twisting or vigorous movement can increase your chances of ovarian torsion, so it’s important that when setting up your IVF and subsequent health journey you don’t engage in strenuous activity.
The Dos Of Exercising During IVF
It is good to work out during egg stimulation as it increases the likelihood of conception, as long as the workouts are appropriate. Your health and wellness are your priority at this time, so work with your doctor to find a routine that works best for your body and mind before you start IVF. Discuss your current physical activity as well as any changes that may need to be made to your routine at this time.
In general, experts say to keep your workouts to around 30 minutes and make sure the movement isn’t too intense. Strenuous exercise runs the risk of ovarian torsions as well as other injuries, and it is imperative that you stay in the best health possible. Safe activities during this time include:
- Tai Chi
- Light weightlifting
Working out may help manage your stress levels and keep your weight under control, but it isn’t the only option. Reading, meditation, acupuncture, massages, and other forms of self-care can also help keep your stress levels down during this time. A healthy diet will also contribute to your wellness, so make sure your meals are balanced. Other things to consider when planning out your IVF wellness journey are:
- Staying hydrated – keep your water bottle full!
- Taking vitamins, including any prenatal vitamins your doctor recommends
- Stretching or Yin Yoga – keeping limber will help as your body changes during pregnancy
- Taking plenty of time to rest – you do not need to work out 7 days a week
The Don’ts of Exercising During IVF
Avoid anything that could potentially damage or impact your abdomen or uterus. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), running, and heavy weight lifting are all off the table while undergoing IVF. Although exercise is good for preparing the body for pregnancy and labor, your doctor may also ask you to refrain from exercising altogether depending on how you are responding to the process.
Exercise During the Week of Egg Retrieval or After Embryo Transfer
It is crucial to avoid exercise during the week of egg retrieval. At this time, your ovaries are at their most enlarged, and the risk of developing ovarian torsion is higher. There is also a two-week waiting period after the embryo is transferred where it is recommended you rest, and keep activity to a minimum. This means no exercise at all – rigorous physical activity can decrease the embryo’s chance of implanting and becoming a successful pregnancy.
Talk with an expert to set up an exercise plan that works best for your body and lifestyle before starting IVF. Exercise improves overall health and increases the chances of a successful pregnancy, but make sure you are taking the right steps toward a successful IVF journey. When it comes to fertility, Chelsea Fertility is here for you – contact us today with any questions.