Just how much does exercise improve your chance of taking home a baby if you are undergoing assisted reproductive treatments?
We have talked about meta-analysis before but if this is a foreign sounding term to you don't worry. Here is our quick explanation: A meta-analyses is a way that we can combine the findings from multiple studies and analyse them to draw conclusions about the effect of a particular treatment or intervention. Essentially it provides a snapshot of how big or small, positive or negative an effect may be once all the results of separate studies are pooled together.
Earlier this year a meta-analysis was published that explored the benefits of a mother’s physical activity before IVF/ICSI cycles and the treatment outcome.
What Did They Find?
We know that fertility decreases with age and that a high BMI negatively affects fertility, reducing embryo development, implantation and clinical pregnancy rate. A number of studies in the meta-analysis controlled for these two factors and found that pregnancy rate was 89-352% greater in women that regularly exercised compared to women that did not exercise.
Even without accounting for age or BMI, live birth rate was significantly greater in women that exercised > 2.5 h/week by 56%!
Importantly there was no greater incidence of miscarriage in women that were physically active. With a safe, effective exercise prescription you have the power to potentially triple your chance of getting pregnant!
For general health, the Australian Guidelines stipulate that you should participate in 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week and strength training 2-3 times a week. While this is a great guide for overall health, to optimise your fertility you may need a different prescription that is tailored to your previous physical activity levels and stage of fertility treatment.
If you are unsure of where to start or are afraid you are doing too much or not enough, we would love to help you on your journey and improve your chance of pregnancy!