Jun 102009
 

A fertility expert describes how exercises for fertility – such as yoga – increase your chances of conception and help you get pregnant.

“Studies show that pregnancy success rates decline as a woman’s weight increases,” say these fertility specialists at Pulling Down the Moon. “However, while many women are busy shaping up for spring and summer, and trying to lose weight to boost conception odds, they may not realize that some exercises may keep them from getting pregnant!”

For more info on fertility and exercise, check out Yoga 4 Fertility. And, here’s what the research shows about fertility rates, in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates, and exercise – plus five activities to increase your chances of conceiving from fertility expert Beth Heller.

Fertility Exercises – Can Yoga Help You Get Pregnant?

In a major study of more than 5,000 women, researchers at Harvard University found that active athletes often had irregular menstrual cycles and that many were infertile while training. Another study discovered that women who had a longtime, regular exercise program of 4+ hours a week had significantly lower (40%) in vitro fertilization success rates and were more likely to miscarry, while those who participated in cardio work-outs (such as aerobics or running) had a 30% lower chance of a successful live birth after IVF.

Further research supports the fact that strenuous exercise can disrupt the menstrual cycle and reproductive hormone regulation.

Moderate exercise is proven to help women achieve and maintain their fertile body weight, decrease stress levels, promote good hormonal regulation and increase self-esteem. The key to exercising for fertility is to engage in appropriate “fertility-friendly” activities. For instance, workouts such as yoga can help you get pregnant because they they help, rather than hinder, your fertility.





Beth Heller, fitness expert and founder of the holistic fertility center Pulling Down The Moon, says that high-impact, high intensity exercise like running is not appropriate for women trying to get pregnant. Running places excessive metabolic stress on the body.

“For women trying to conceive, an exercise program should leave them feeling energized and strong, not exhausted,” says Heller.

5 Types of Exercises to Improve Fertility

  1. Increased Overall Activity: Make measurable and significant increases to your daily activity.
  2. Moderate-Intensity Cardiovascular Activity: Walking, swimming and leisurely bike riding.
  3. Resistance Training (Strength Training): Increases lean body mass and thus boosts metabolic rate.
  4. Yoga / Flexibility: Yoga for fertility – such as Bend, Breathe, and Conceive Fertility Yoga – is proven to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, regulate hormone function, and lower stress. This all helps women get pregnant.
  5. Relaxation Response Training: This is a new component of exercise that should be treated equally as important as cardio, strength and flexibility; it involves activities such as meditation and guided relaxation.

The right exercises for fertility, such as yoga, can help you get pregnant. For more info, read The Best Way to Get Pregnant.

Another type of “fertility exercise” is meditation. To learn more, read Pregnancy Meditation – How to Meditate and Get Pregnant.

Pulling Down The Moon, which — in conjunction with physicians from the Fertility Centers of Illinois and Shady Grove Fertility — offers Fitness for Fertility seminars and other services for couples coping with infertility.

laurie pawlik kienlenI'm Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen (but I wish my name was Rosie Frost!). I'm a bookworm, travel bug, flute player, writer. My husband and I live in Vancouver, Canada with our cat and dogs.

Are you happy? My Grade 10 Social Studies teacher, Mr Merritt, always used to ask me that. And I am happy - despite a difficult childhood (schizophrenic mother, no father, foster homes), infertility, an eating disorder, and a chronic illness. The source of my peace and joy is God; I'm a Christian.

How is your life unfolding - what do you need? I welcome your big and little comments below, about big or little things. I can't give you advice, but writing can give you clarity and insight.

In peace and passion.... Laurie

  8 Responses to “Exercises for Fertility – How Yoga Helps You Get Pregnant”

  1. Hi Shelly,

    Thanks for your tip about gluten free diets increasing fertility and reducing miscarriages! I hope the yoga for fertility exercises help, too.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  2. Hello, I am 27 and have been TTC for a year. I was looking for yoga exercises to help fertility. If I might add some advice, gluten free diets are supposed to help your fertility and help reduce miscarriages. I found out I am allergic to wheat, and that is why I’m infertile so far. Anyone ever look into that? I hope to conceive soon. I have only been on the diet 1 month. Good luck and baby dust. I am glad to know I am not the only one out there in the sad lonely bubble of looking at every single baby who passes by. :( If anyone has any suggestions or likes the gluten free idea please email me shellydavid100402@yahoo.com. Sometimes you need strangers to talk too, because friends don’t understand. bye.

  3. M friend is a tai-chi master and he encourages me to enroll in his class. Maybe it’s a good exercise for fertility.

  4. I practive both Tai-Chi and meditation on my spare time. It is really good for general health.

  5. Arron,

    I think the reason there isn’t alot of research about how much exercise is too much (in terms of getting pregnant) is because different amounts of exercise affect different women differently! That is, one woman can run five miles a day and still get pregnant, while others should only be doing meditative exercises like yoga or tai chi.

    The mind-body connection is huge when it comes to health; our attitude and mindset can make us sick, make us healthy, make us pregnant, or keep us un-pregnant! As you change your exercise routine, I suggest you focus on different aspects of getting pregnant.

    Here are some articles to read and think about:

    How Acupuncture Affects Fertility

    Fertility Yoga Tips for Couples Trying to Conceive

    5 Tips for Creating a Vision Board for Fertility

    I hope these links help, and encourage you to choose exercises that incorporate fertility or pregnancy somehow (such as meditating about getting pregnant while doing yoga).

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  6. This post is helpful. I have been encouraged by my fertility specialist to cut back to 10 or 15 miles of running per week, but he would prefer that I choose another form of exercise altogether. I never considered it an issue, as I’ve been running for so long and my cycles are regular and I am ovulating. However, being at my wits end with unexplained infertility, I’ve decided to quit running cold turkey. I just wish that there was a little more research on how much exercise is too much and how can a woman tell? Is there a maximum heart rate to consider, or something similar?

  7. Julian,

    Thanks for your comment — I think some women hesitate to exercise during pregnancy and after childbirth, so it’s great to get that encouragement :-)

  8. Laurie, thanks for the great tips. I also recommend that women exercise after childbirth and during their pregnancy. There are many great exercises to keep your body working properly. Julian

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