What you need to know about exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant

Exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant can be a contentious issue. On one hand you’re advised to be as healthy as possible to improve your chances of conceiving (which includes leading an active lifestyle). You’ve probably also been told not to do anything too intense physically as it might risk your chance of a pregnancy.

It’s no wonder we’re all so confused.

exercise when you're trying to get pregnant

What exercise is right for you?

In my opinion (and please take this as the not-specific-to-you non-medical opinion of a yoga teacher who works in this space of fertility and pregnancy). Exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant should be a case by case (and even a day by day) decision. WHY? Because all of our lives, our work, our stress levels and our activity levels are different person to person and day to day.

Like all things, exercise can either be a positive, healthy addition to your day. OR it could be something that is draining and further stressing your already stressed-out nervous system.

If you work in an office seated all day, going for a run to get your blood moving might be the right choice for you. Or it might not be. If you’re overly stressed (because of work or fertility treatments) a walk or yoga class might be a better choice for your body as it will help relieve some stress rather than potentially add to it.

If you work in an active job and you’re feeling stressed, doing high intensity exercise is just going to be adding fuel to the fire of your stressed out nervous system. And will potentially further throw out hormonal balances which affect your ability to conceive.

The question then is…

How on earth do you know what exercise is right for you?

THIS my friends is why I love yoga so much. It’s not just a type of exercise. It’s a whole range of practises that ask us to check in with our own body to find the answer.

My work also takes into consideration menstrual cycle awareness. This can be a great general guide for how to change your exercise throughout the different stages of your cycle. BUT that doesn’t always mean you can’t do more intense exercise when the typical advice tells you not to.

If your body is rearing to go, I suggest you listen and give it the movement it craves. However if you’re just getting started it might be a little bit tricky to tell the difference between your ego and your body. Often, our ego wants to do do do. Our body craves a mixture of rest and movement. If you’re not sure yet how to listen to your body, this brief overview of the different stages of the cycle is a good place to start.

How to exercise when you’re trying to get pregnant according to your menstrual cycle

Menstruation / Period – During this time you likely have low energy, feel bloated and feel a bit foggy in your brain. Choose gentle and restorative yoga or walking at this time.

Pre-ovulation – Energy is increasing as this time.You may feel light, flirty, and have increased mental focus. This stage of the cycle is perfect for stronger forms of yoga, HIIT, running, boxing, etc.

Ovulation – At this stage of the cycle you are likely to feel strong, grounded energy, sexy, and with clear mental focus. With energy levels still high you may feel like continuing the exercise you were doing in pre-ovulation. For those trying to conceive, I recommend starting to slow it down a little to reserve some energy for conception and to ensure you aren’t stressing out your body. This might mean a slower (but still strong) yoga practise, steady weight training, or a long walk.

Pre-menstruation/ the two week wait – At this stage of the cycle your energy starts to wane as you move towards menstruation. You might also find you feel hyper-critical during this time. Exercise during the two week wait should slow down to recognise this natural change in our body’s energy due to our shifting hormones. Choose gentle yoga, walks or just a less intense version of whatever exercise you usually practise.

So I hope this gives you a better understanding of how to exercise when you’re trying to conceive. The best thing you can do is start tuning in with your own body and seeing what it is YOU need today, rather than looking for external ‘right answers’. Trust yourself and good luck!

If you’re brand new to fertility yoga – you might like to download my free beginners guide here.

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