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Can Exercise Affect My Fertility?

For many women, there is something of a connection between exercise and their fertility. Exercise can affect fertility in several ways. In some cases, exercise may lead to infertility. In most cases, exercise is a part of a regular healthy routine that can help a woman in all areas of her life, including fertility.

Over-exercising is one of the bigger causes of infertility for women. If a woman exercises too much, she is at a risk of losing too much of her body fat. Body fat plays an essential role in the production of estrogen; without enough estrogen, a woman who over-exercises might not ovulate. The technical term for not ovulating is oligomenorrhea, and is a major cause of fertility problems.

Women who don’t get enough exercise can impact their fertility negatively as well. By not getting enough exercise, a woman runs the risk of becoming overweight or obese. An overweight or obese woman, because she has more fat cells, can actually have too much estrogen. This overproduction of estrogen can negatively impact ovulation and conception. In addition, being overweight puts you at risk for insulin resistance, which can ultimately keep you from ovulating.

Regular exercise that is not over-exerting can be of a great benefit to anyone. A woman who wishes to become pregnant will likely have more success if she exercises. Exercise can help to reduce stress, which is another major cause of infertility among women. Several clinical studies have suggested that stress can, indeed, negatively affect fertility. When you are under stress, your body produces more and more stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. At the same time, your body slows production of sex hormones. Chronic stress can change your ovulation schedule, making it much more difficult to get pregnant. In this regard, yoga works best as a part of an overall stress-reduction program that may increase your chances of getting pregnant. In addition, regular exercise can help to regulate your body weight, so as to avoid becoming overweight or obese.

Ultimately, doing regular exercise of 30 minutes a day three or four days a week can help to increase your fertility.


Last modified: February 10, 2013


The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.