Staying active at any life stage has myriad benefits, but taking part in regular, moderate intensity physical activity and exercise when trying to conceive has been shown to lead to higher rates of pregnancy, as well as leading to a healthier pregnancy overall! Yet many women I speak to talk of being told that exercising whilst TTC isn’t advisable, or they admit they were nervous that it might negatively affect their fertility. This link to infertility is one of those myths that can rear its ugly head, that isn’t based on the most recent research, and isn’t really benefitting anyone!
So, after working with over 30,000 women around the world at various stages of their fertility, pregnancy and postnatal journey, I’m here to give you my top 5 reasons why exercising whilst TTC is so important! Because we deserve the evidence, we deserve to be healthy, and we deserve to enter pregnancy feeling like an absolute badass!
ONE: Exercise when trying to conceive supports your fertility journey
Studies have shown (1) that regular, moderate intensity physical activity is linked with a higher rate of pregnancy compared to those who are inactive (2), and these effects have also been seen in some women experiencing reproductive health problems. For some women there is a fear that moving their bodies may hinder their ability to conceive, yet the research doesn’t show this at all when it comes to moderate intensity physical activity and is based on outdated beliefs.
TWO: Exercise when trying to get pregnant prepares your body for the demands of pregnancy and labour
Pregnancy is the longest marathon you will ever run, and labour can be the hardest marathon you’ve ever run. It’s important that we enter pregnancy as strong, and capable as possible – just as we would pre-marathon. Staying active whilst TTC will ensure your body can cope with a growing bump, growing boobs, heavy buggies, awkward car seats, and a baby that only gets heavier.
THREE: Physical activity has vast physical and mental health benefits
This quote from the UK Chief Medical Officer couldn’t be more apt – “ If physical activity were a drug, we would refer to it as a miracle cure, due to the great many illnesses it can prevent and help treat.”
Physically active people are 48% less likely to suffer with depression, 25% less likely to have coronary heart disease, 20% less likely to develop breast cancer and 35% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Amazing statistics right!? Convinced yet?
FOUR: Exercise when trying to conceive helps create positive lifestyle habits
Staying active during pregnancy/pregnancy exercise is vitally important, so getting into positive habits whilst TTC will help carry over into pregnancy. During pregnancy the guidelines are to aim for at least 150 minutes moderate intensity physical activity per week, so getting as close to this pre-pregnancy as possible will make the change across to prenatal fitness a breeze!
FIVE: Exercise when trying to get pregnant gives you another focus and outlet
Anyone who has tried to conceive before or has been on a long journey to get here, will know that TTC can become all-consuming. It invades your thoughts, your dreams, your conversations and your google history. Taking time out to put your phone away, get your body moving, and focussing on how your body feels, can give us a chance to step away from the journey for a moment. See it as an important mental health tool, during a time where our mental health can be tested.
Overall, I want to stress that staying active whilst TTC really does have both physical and mental health benefits, will make an upcoming pregnancy more comfortable and manageable, can give you the space to step away from the anxiety of TTC, and help you create positive habits for life! You’ve got this, and good luck in the rest of your journey!
Please Note: if you are concerned about your fertility, have a pre-existing health condition, or need more support please do speak with your healthcare professional to assess if need to modify your current physical activity levels or routines.
If you enjoyed this blog on exercise when trying to conceive and would like fitness support in your ability to conceive then try out The Bump Plan TTC for FREE for 7-Days here.