Exercise Helps IVF Success in Obese Women

Exercise Helps IVF Success in Obese Women
How much women should exercise before IVF is controversial. Some studies have demonstrated that women who exercise vigorously for more than four hours per week may have lower IVF success rates which has caused many physicians to set four hours weekly as an upper limit for working out while women are pursuing assisted reproduction.

Some women, however, may benefit from increasing exercise levels prior to conception. A 2014 study (1) questioned the relationship between regular physical activity and assisted reproduction success in two hundred and sixteen women diagnosed with obesity and infertility who were undergoing their first cycle of assisted reproduction.

Forty-one of the women exercised regularly while one-hundred and seventy five did not, and women who worked out had markedly different pregnancy rates (39%) compared to women who did not exercise (16%). Live birth rates were also different, 24.4% versus 7.4% in non-exercisers and the study concluded with the following remarks:

“Regular physical activity carried out before a assisted reproduction cycle is significantly related with improved reproductive performance in obese infertile patients, irrespective of bodyweight loss.”

“Our results demonstrate that the chances to obtain a pregnancy and a baby are 3-fold higher in obese infertile patients who does physical activity regularly in comparison with those who does not, suggesting that regular physical activity before ART cycles improves the reproductive performance in obese women irrespective to body weight loss.”

Some physicians do recommend exercise and weight loss prior to IVF for women diagnosed with obesity while others do not raise the issue, preferring to proceed without advising women on vital aspects of pre-conceptual care.

It is important to take a little time to prepare well for assisted reproduction, especially when obesity is an issue; vitamin D deficiency is also more prevalent in women with obesity and taking care of the things you CAN control can really make a difference.


(1) Reproductive BioMedicine Online. Volume 29, Issue 1, Pages 1-146 (July 2014) . Physical activity before IVF and ICSI cycles in infertile obese women: an observational cohort studyOriginal Research Article Pages 72-79. Stefano Palomba, Angela Falbo, Barbara Valli, Daria Morini, Maria Teresa Villani, Alessia Nicoli, Giovanni Battista La Sala




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