It’s understandable that when embarking on a journey as big as trying to conceive (often shortened to “ttc”) we might start to question every decision we make and wonder what more we can do to help our chances. When it comes to your physical fitness, you might find that you have questions such as “can you exercise whilst ttc”,“does exercise affect your chances of getting pregnant” or “what is considered excessive exercise when trying to conceive” and whilst these are valid concerns, I’m here to show you that yes you should exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant!
So, let’s get stuck in….
How often should I be exercising whilst trying to get pregnant?
Studies have shown that taking part in regular, moderate intensity, physical activity increases rates of pregnancy and leads to a healthier pregnancy. With this in mind it’s a good idea to aim for these guidelines:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, physical activity* per week. (*what is physical activity? Any movement that increases your heart rate and breath rate. This could be walking, Pilates, cleaning your house – even sex is a good workout!)
- Muscle-strengthening activities at least twice per week.
Now, these guidelines not only get your body into the best conditions for conception, but they are also in line with the physical activity guidelines for pregnancy. This means that should you fall pregnant and not realise whilst ttc, you’re safe in the knowledge you can continue exercising as you have been. It also helps you get into the habit of moving your body in this way each week, which makes the transition to pregnancy exercise much easier.
What type of exercises should I be doing whilst trying to get pregnant?
So, with the above guidelines in mind, we want to be including both cardiovascular training (of at least 150 minutes at moderate intensity per week) with strength training (essentially muscle-strengthening activity) whilst trying to conceive.
When we say moderate intensity cardiovascular training we mean anything that increases our heart rate, increases our breath rate, gets us a little sweaty, but would still allow us to talk whilst doing it. Great examples of this would be walking, swimming, static cycling, jogging and more – just make sure you can still hold a conversation whilst doing it. Again, is sex a good workout? Even that counts towards your 150 minutes!
With regards to strength training (muscle strengthening activities) these are activities that increase the strength and performance of your muscles. You might choose to use bodyweight to build your strength here, using exercises such as planks, lunges, squats etc, or use resistance in the form of a resistance band, dumbbells, kettlebells etc to make these exercises more challenging.
This combination will mean you enter pregnancy with the strength and endurance needed to meet the demands of pregnancy and parenthood – which is essentially a very long marathon that challenges your heart, and your muscles!
So, what exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant can you do? Anything that you enjoy, and that helps you meet those guidelines above.
What is considered excessive exercise when trying to conceive?
To be honest, only 42% of women currently meet the current guidelines for physical activity in the UK, and it is usually only high-level athletes that hit exercise levels that may have a negative effect on fertility. Symptoms would usually highlight an issue with your periods such as varying cycle lengths or periods ceasing. Symptoms such as excessive tiredness, sleep issues, frequent aches and pains (or DOMS) or frequent illnesses could also highlight an issue with overtraining.
Therefore, aiming for the guidelines listed in this blog would be a great option that will stop you wondering “can exercise cause you not to get pregnant” and instead give you the confidence to continue moving your body during this time!
Exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant – further reading :
- Exercise When Trying to Conceive: 5 Reasons Why It’s So Important
- Exercise in pregnancy – NHS: this is a fantastic government resource covering all the basics that you need to know if you are exercising when trying to get pregnant
- The Bump Plan TTC: The UK’s first online exercise plan specifically designed for when you are trying to conceive
- The Bump Plan Pregnancy: Holistic prenatal exercise programme designed to strengthen your body whilst pregnant, including pregnancy exercise classes and tutorials
- The Bump Plan Postnatal: Holistic postnatal exercise programme designed for any postnatal mum. You can start from day 1 after giving birth and progress at your own pace.
FAQS on Exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant
- What does TTC mean? Trying to conceive.
- How much of a workout is sex? This would usually be classed as cardiovascular exercise and would depend on the duration and intensity. It would definitely count towards your 150 minutes of physical activity.
- Can I still run whilst ttc? Yes, but aim to keep it at a moderate intensity whereby you could still talk or hold a conversation whilst running.
If you enjoyed this blog on exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant and would like fitness support in your ability to conceive then try out The Bump Plan TTC for FREE for 7-Days here.