Preconception Health Part 1: Exercise

Exercise is an important factor in boosting your preconception health. If you aren’t currently very active, starting a fitness routine before you begin trying to conceive may be helpful. Regular exercise helps manage your blood pressure, blood sugar, and body weight – three health factors that can worsen with pregnancy. Since being overweight can negatively impact your chances of conceiving, moderate exercise coupled with a balanced diet may increase your fertility by helping you lose weight safely. Women with medical conditions and those who are overweight should consult their primary physician before starting an exercise regimen.

How Much Exercise is Too Much?

Women sometimes stop menstruating due to strenuous, ongoing physical training. This problem is called amenorrhea and is linked to having a very low percentage of body fat. This affects ovulation and can cause infertility. If you have a low BMI and you don’t have regular periods, talk to your doctor about whether excessive exercise may be the cause. If you have regular periods and a normal body weight, just avoid exercising to the point of injury.

Find a Routine You Can Continue after Conception

Once you get pregnant, you can generally continue with any exercises you were doing before conception. But you will typically be advised not to try new routines since the increased elasticity of your ligaments will make injury from unfamiliar movements more likely. So, pick preconception activities that you can gradually modify as your body changes during pregnancy. Walking, yoga, light weight lifting, and swimming are some examples. Focus on movements that build core body strength. You will need well-developed back, stomach, thigh, and gluteal muscles to help keep the aches and pains of pregnancy to a minimum. It is best to avoid activities that could harm the baby either through abdominal trauma, such as soccer or basketball, or by falling such as skiing and horseback riding.

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