Exercise & Weight During Pregnancy

While it may seem obvious that a healthy exercise regime would have a positive impact on your chances of getting pregnant, you may be surprised that your weight has a significant role to play in fertility. This article discusses why and how exercise and weight can affect your chances of getting pregnant.

Body weight

A healthy weight, usually calculated by the body mass index (BMI) which measures weight against height to deduce health, has many positive effects including varying degrees of protection against diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Weight also has important effects on your fertility, and at later stages, on the healthiness of a developing foetus.

For men, weight can affect fertility in terms of sperm motility (sperm’s ability to move and therefore reach an egg) and sperm count. Whereas for women, weight has more far reaching consequences in terms of fertility and pregnancy. Female fertility is very dependent on body fat as the amounts of hormones responsible for fertility and the menstrual cycle (oestrogen and progesterone) are derived from body fat. As such being underweight and having too little body fat can be as unhealthy as being overweight and having too much.

Attaining a healthy body weight (a BMI of between 20 and 25) is a good step towards preparing for a pregnancy, as a healthy body is more fertile. If you already have a BMI between 20 and 25, then that’s great! However if your BMI is over or under, it might be a good idea to re-evaluate your nutrition and exercise habits to give yourself the healthiest body and pregnancy possible.

Exercise habits

Regular exercise ties into maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping your body healthy is imperative to both getting pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Exercise helps you to achieve general fitness, which boosts your immune system and energy, helps maintain a healthy weight, and provides stamina which can help during childbirth. These benefits promote a state of well being which gets your body into the best shape possible for a pregnancy.

While traditional exercise, like cardio (running and cycling for example) and weight training, is great, there are other ways to improve your fitness and prepare your body for pregnancy. These are minor changes to your lifestyle that promote more activity, for example, taking the stairs rather than the lift or walking a bit further then you usually would to get somewhere if you have the time. Taking up a low impact hobby like yoga or Pilates is a great way to achieve fitness and improve flexibility as well.

While exercise is generally good for you, over training can be harmful as well, so you should be careful not to overdo your exercise and avoid injury as these can be detrimental to a pregnancy.

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