Exercise around the time of ovulation, conception and implantation

My web site is here to provide you with exercise advice, tips and interesting pregnancy/postnatal interesting factoids. But sometimes I will tackle the tricky stuff. There is such conflicting advice about exercise around the time of ovulation, conception and implantation that I am going to try and give you a useful, sensible answer.

If you have never had any problems getting pregnant then you might not know that much about the actual processes involved in conception and implantation inside the body. If, on the other hand you are putting a lot of effort into getting pregnant, for example BBT charting, ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), IVF, special diets or drugs or anything else then you will want to make sure that exercise is not going to have any kind of negative impact on these delicate hormonal processes.

My advice is not based on formal research (you will see from my post about early miscarriage there is no conclusive evidence around this), it is based around making sure that in your head you know that you have given yourself the best possible chance of having a viable pregnancy. It is what I would do myself and tell my friends to do.

Let’s take it one step at a time:

  • During your period (AF) you might not feel like exercise, but try and keep up your regular routine, it may help!
  • Between AF and ovulation you can do all your regular routines, go a bit mad, do high intensity stuff and really push yourself. Really enjoy it, mix it up and get stuck in!
  • Around the time of ovulation/conception you may want to take it down a notch. Take out all the really mad stuff, but keep it regular (ideally 3-5 times a week for 30 mins+, mix of CV and resistance). Try lower impact options and avoid working yourself beyond a point where you can still hold a conversation mid workout. If you are a regular exerciser and you stop completely it will probably make you miserable (and it might take a while to get pregnant!) so try to carry on.
  • Between conception and implantation continue in the same vein. Exercise, even jumping and jogging, will not make the egg fall out, if it is going to implant it will so don’t get too anxious!  (and if it doesn’t it is not down to you). Just continue to be a bit wary around doing anything too vigorous, working at high-maximal intensities. Regular vigorous exercise may have an impact on female hormones (we know that some athletes stop having periods). So- keep it moderate and regular.

Fingers crossed this is the cycle for you. If not then have a treat (maybe a big coffee or glass of wine if you have been off it) and a good, full on workout to feel a little bit better. If you do get pregnant please keep up the exercise, don’t stress too much about miscarriage and check out my book for exercises designed to be safe for each trimester.

I know trying for a baby is a difficult time and often like  a roller coaster, but try to keep healthy, fit and positive x

Want a baby? Get eating avocados!

New research indicates a diet containing lots of monounsaturated fat – found in avocados, olive oil, as well as peanuts, almonds and cashews – can as much as triple the chance of success in women resorting to fertility treatment to conceive. Specialists believe such a diet could help the majority of women wanting to get pregnant naturally as well.

By contrast eating lots of saturated fat, found in dairy products and red meat, appears to damage women’s fertility. High saturated fat intake has already been linked to lower sperm counts.

I think…..

It is great to hear that eating these foods can have such a positive impact on fertility, although more research is needed. I would suggest that we all try to eat more of these foods anyway!! The foods outlined in the study should be an essential part of good diet and have a huge variety of health benefits. Just remember they are great for you, but are still fats and can therefore be high calorie. Ditch the junk and eat as part of a balanced diet (maybe work in a few extra if you are trying for a baby – salmon and avocado salad all round!!)

Trying to concieve? Get to a healthy weight

Obese women who are trying to conceive should try dieting before immediately turning to IVF treatment as women who lost weight were three times more likely to fall pregnant, a study has found. You can read more in this article from the telegraph

This is only a small study, but the message is clear. Get to a healthy weight, eat well and take regular exercise and you are much more likely to get pregnant. You body needs to be in tip-top condition if it is going to nurture your baby for nine months and being obese means that you are going to be pre-disposed to medical problems for you and your growing baby. Think of pregnancy as a trigger event to change your life in a positive way. It is a challenge, but well worth it!

Nutrients and healthy eating in pregnancy

This post will give you some idea about the nutrients you need to consider when you are trying to conceive or are pregnant. You don’t have to eat for two, but you do have to pay more attention to your diet toy make sure you and your baby are getting the goodness you need.

This is taken from the BBC web site which has loads more about healthy eating for conception and pregnancy:

Energy

Most of the extra calories needed in pregnancy are required in the last three months It’s estimated you need around 300 kcals extra each day. If you’re less active during the last three months of pregnancy, this may mean you need very little extra food, because you’re not expending as much energy. If you continue to stay active, a snack of a couple of slices of toast with spread and a glass of milk or a yoghurt may be all you need.

Protein

Most people eat more than enough protein so there’s no need to increase your protein intake. Try to follow healthy eating principles and include some lean meat, fish or poultry, dairy products, grains, nuts and pulses in your meals.

Fibre

It’s particularly important to eat more fibre in pregnancy to avoid the common niggles ofconstipation and piles (haemorrhoids). Increase your fibre intake by eating fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread and cereals, brown rice, wholemeal pasta and pulses. You should also drink more fluids because increasing fibre intake without enough liquid can make constipation worse.

Folic acid

Mothers who lack sufficient folic acid before conception and in early pregnancy are at increased risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (NTD), such as spina bifida.

From the moment you start trying to conceive until the end of week 12 of your pregnancy, you should take a daily 400 microgram supplement of folic acid. Women with a history of NTDs should be prescribed a 5mg supplement.

These supplements should be in addition to dietary intake, which should be about 200 micrograms per day. You can boost your folic acid intake by choosing foods such as:

  • Green leafy vegetables – cabbage, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, spring greens, kale, okra and fresh peas.
  • Pulses – chickpeas, black-eyed beans and lentils
  • Fortified breakfast cereals.
  • Wholemeal and wholegrain breads and rolls or those fortified with folic acid.

Folic acid is easily lost during cooking, so steam vegetables or cook in only a little water for a short time to retain as much goodness as possible. Supermarkets and food manufacturers often identify good sources of folic acid with a special label. Look out for these next time you go shopping.

Iron

Your iron levels will be measured throughout pregnancy, and if they’re found to be low you’ll be prescribed an iron supplement. Pregnant women should try to maintain a good iron intake from their diet to obtain the other nutrients in these foods.

Good sources of iron can be split into two categories: meat-based (haem) and plant-based (non-haem). The body doesn’t absorb iron from non-meat foods as easily as it does from meat sources. However, you can enhance iron absorption by including a source of vitamin C with your meal. Tannins found in black tea reduce the absorption. So, it’s better to have a glass of orange juice with your bowl of cereal in the morning rather than a cup of tea.

Vitamin A

Too much vitamin A can build up in the liver and harm an unborn baby. So, although liver and liver products, such as paté and liver sausage, are good sources of iron, their high concentrations of vitamin A have led the UK Department of Health to advise pregnant women and women trying to conceive to avoid liver and liver products.

Some vitamin supplements and fish liver oil supplements are high in vitamin A, so always choose a specially prepared pregnancy supplement if you take one.

Vitamin C

Eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods to help you use iron effectivelyGood sources include citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and lemons), blackcurrants, strawberries, kiwi fruit, peppers, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day; a drink of fruit or vegetable juice counts as one portion.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for forming and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It’s found in only a few foods, including fortified margarines and reduced-fat spreads, some fortified breakfast cereals, oily fish and meat. A small amount can also be found in milk and eggs. The body also makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight.

Current recommendations are that pregnant women should take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D every day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women with dark skin, or those who always cover their skin, are at particular risk of a vitamin D deficiency.

Calcium

Your needs for calcium double during pregnancy, and are particularly high during the last ten weeks when calcium is being laid down in your baby’s bones. Your body adapts to absorb more calcium from foods eaten, so you don’t actually need to eat more of it in late pregnancy, as long as it’s present in your diet anyway.

Continue to ensure your diet has milk and dairy foods such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais. Official advice is to have three servings every day – and typical servings include a glass of milk, milk with cereal, a small matchbox size chunk of hard cheese or a small pot of yoghurt (125g to 150g). Other sources of calcium include bread, green vegetables, canned fish with soft, edible bones (salmon, sardines and pilchards), dried apricots, sesame seeds, tofu, fortified orange juice and fortified soya milk.

Trying to get pregnant? Moderate exercise may help

Here’s another recent article from WebMD. Back with a personal blog in the next couple of days!! xx

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

If you’re trying to get pregnant, adding a brisk walk to your daily routine may help — but you may want to hold off training for that marathon. Moderate physical activity was found to benefit women of all body types in a new study examining the impact of exercise on fertility, while intense exercise appeared to increase the time to conception for normal weight, but not overweight, women.

Normal-weight women in the study who said they exercised vigorously five or more hours a week were 42% less likely to get pregnant in any given month than women who did not exercise at all.

The more vigorous the exercise that normal-weight women engaged in, the lower their probability for conception. “We were surprised to find that even relatively small amounts of vigorous activity seemed to impact fertility,” says researcher Lauren A. Wise, ScD, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health.