While age may be the most important factor for falling pregnant, there are many lifestyle factors that can impact a women’s pregnancy journey – particularly exercise. Keeping active and having a pregnancy workout is beneficial in all stages of pregnancy, from conception right through to post-delivery – and is extremely beneficial for both mum and baby.
How much should I exercise during the conception stage?
It’s important for women to be healthy if they want to maximise their chances of falling pregnant, this includes keeping their BMI within a normal weight range (18.5 to 25). Being under or overweight can not only cause women to not ovulate regularly, but also independently decreases the chance of any given embryo implanting.
Ideally, women shouldn’t wait until they are pregnant to start a fitness regime, instead moderate physical activity can increase a women’s chance of conceiving – aim for 30 minutes per day. These activities can include brisk walking, leisurely cycling, golfing, a light jog and even gardening. It’s important not to over-do it though, as excessive exercise can negatively alter energy balance in the body and affect the reproductive system.
Is it safe to continue to exercise when I’m pregnant?
Health practitioners agree that exercising during pregnancy, if you have a normal and healthy pregnancy, is not only safe – but has many physical and mental benefits. Although there is no consensus as to whether exercise is beneficial during pregnancy, most studies report it poses no risk to either the mother or the fetus, and many suggest it to be beneficial to both.
Most of the studies examining the relationship between exercise and pregnancy report no complications on maternal or fetal well-being. This is also in line with recent review studies advising that the pregnant population without obstetric contraindications should be encouraged to exercise during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state that physical activity in all stages of life maintains and improves cardiorespiratory fitness, reduces the risk of obesity and associated comorbidities and results in greater longevity. Physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and has been shown to benefit most women, although some modification to exercise routines may be necessary because of normal anatomic and physiologic changes and fetal requirements.