Running and Fertility Treatments

 

Running has been given a bad name when it comes to infertility, fertility and fertility treatments.

You probably shouldn’t run or train for a marathon while in the midst of fertility treatments, like I did. My average miles per week were nothing compared to that of an elite athlete (60-100 miles a week) or even other running bloggers that I follow who run about 35-60 miles a week. It probably wasn’t the best thing for me to do while undergoing treatments, but I did it, and I can’t go back and change it.

Unfortunately, I have been talked about behind my back in my exercise (mainly running) and trying to get pregnant and going through infertility treatments.

Some will argue that reaching exhaustion is bad, while others say the legs pounding against the pavement causes too much inflammation and stress to the body. They say it puts all the body’s energy and blood towards fixing muscles, rather than the blood flowing towards the reproductive organs.

My fertility office told me I could still exercise, but not do more then what I was already doing. In my mind that meant running was fine because they didn’t specifically say anything regarding running. But when I asked the nurse (who performed our IUI) about the two week wait (2ww), she said nothing high impact, as it could interfere with implantation. So I could do everything BUT run.

Through my research I found conflicting articles, they are either fully against any type of exercise, or they are okay with limited exercise. I didn’t find any clinical studies suggesting that running increases inflammation and stress on the body that would interfere with your body’s natural fertility.

Those that are pro exercise say it’s for women with PCOS, who are heavier, and need to lose a few pounds in order to get pregnant. The other side of the spectrum for those elite athletes, who probably should cut back on their activity level in order to increase chances of getting pregnant. I haven’t found anything for my current situation, nor do I believe I will. I’m smack dab in the middle, I don’t have PCOS, am not considered overweight, and I’m not an elite athlete.

This cohort study that said they “cannot prove that heavy exercise causes infertility, a suggestion the researchers themselves are careful to avoid making. While this particular study has found an association between heavy exercise and fertility problems, this may be due to another factor, which could mean that the women who exercise most are systematically different from those who exercise less. For example, it is possible that, irrespective of their current weight, those women who exercise the most may be on low-calorie diets, and this intentional dieting may also affect their fertility.”

What I have concluded from my own personal research, and a little based on how I feel. That your diet, as well as your exercise habits can affect fertility. Obviously you need to go off of how your body ultimately feels, and what you’re currently doing. Being on fertility drugs can really cause havoc to your body, you can gain a lot of weight and not be doing anything different.

There’s a lot of factors that can affect fertility and what you do during your treatments. So don’t assume that it could be just exercise, or just your diet. It could very much be a mixture of them.

So is it okay to run during treatments? I think for me yes, I am very much going to be running still, not as much and especially not a lot during the 2ww. I would suggest that you to talk to your doctor before doing anything out of what you normally do day to day.


Here’s a few sites on running and fertility:

Stroller Jealousy: The Life of the Infertile Runner

Can Long Distance Running Hurt Your Fertility?

Infertility and the Female Runner

How Diet Affects Fertility – Really good read on carbs, protein, fat, dairy, and exercise

Can Jogging Affect Fertility – Has references down at the bottom

IVF and Running


Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, if you have questions about running while doing fertility treatments I would talk to your RE, or your medical doctor.  

3 Comments

  1. Daisy Gomez

    October 16, 2015 at 2:21 am

    Great post! We met with our fertility doctor and for us he said to not do more than 3-5 vigorous hours of exercise. I have one more half marathon (Nov 15th) and then after that I am taking it pretty easy and only doing maybe 3 hours a week. My next race isn't a PR race so I am just taking it easy right now. I am really hoping and praying this one takes for you guys!! Our only option is IVF now.

  2. Tedi Palmer

    October 17, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    That's good your doctor specified it more to 3-5 hours of vigorous exercise. I have the Dopey Challenge that's in January so that's my final race for a while. I told Chase that if we don't get pregnant this cycle then I'm taking a break until after the race, and then we can discuss more on the IVF stuff after. I would love to know when you start IVF so I can pray for you! 🙂

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