Things that are Running and Fertility Treatments

Wednesday, October 14


For whatever reason 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. Though my average miles per week were nothing compared to that of an elite athlete (running anywhere from 60-100 miles a week) or even other running bloggers that I follow (who run about 35-60 miles a week). It probably still wasn't the healthiest thing for me to do while undergoing treatments, but I did it, and I can't go back and change it.

I unfortunately 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 the intensity is bad (reaching exhaustion), and others will say that the pounding of legs against the pavement causes too much inflammation and stress to the body. Which doesn't allow the female body to get pregnant - putting all the body's energy and blood towards fixing muscles rather than having the blood going towards reproductive organs.

My fertility office told me I could exercise still, but not do anything more then what I was already doing (so in my mind running was fine - they didn't say anything against running). But then come to find out 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 can do everything BUT run.

I have done some thorough research and keep coming with mixed findings. AND the biggest factor for me... I have never seen any clinical studies suggesting that running increases inflammation and stress to your body, and that would interfere with your body's natural fertility. I am an educated person, and have learned that you must do research, you cannot rely on "this person said this," or "that person said that." What I have read on many blogs and .com sites - They are either against any type of exercise during treatments, and then there are some that are okay with it, and don't see any difference. Those that are for it, are for women with PCOS who are heavier and need to lose a few pounds in order to get pregnant, and then there's 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 find something. Me and my body type are smack dab in the middle, I don't have PCOS and I'm not an elite athlete.

I found this cohort study that "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."

So what I have concluded from my own personal research, and just based on how I feel. That your diet (what you are eating every day) can affect your fertility, as well as your exercise habits, it's not just exercise that can affect fertility. Obviously you need to go off of how your body ultimately feels. Being on fertility drugs can really mess with you, you can gain a lot of weight and not be doing anything different.

What I'm getting at is that there are lots 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 not during the 2ww. But I would definitely agree that you need to talk to your doctor before doing anything out of what you normally do day to day.

During my research I found a few sites that I thought would be beneficial to others:

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

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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.  
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2 comments:

  1. 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.

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    1. 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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