Surprising Preconception Fitness Facts


Once upon a time, I was a certified personal trainer. Given my background and current obsession with babies, I’ve been doing some research on how best to get my body in tip-top preconception, fertilize-me-please shape. Here’s what I found and am striving to practice:

  1. Work on your six-pack. Your tummy stretches during pregnancy, so the last thing you want to do is exercise your way to tight, strong abs, right? Wrong. Strong muscles stretch more easily than weak muscles. Time to start those crunches, ladies!
  2. Don’t neglect your backside. It’s tempting to get caught up in the quest for sleek abs and pay no attention to your beautiful-as-is lower back. Your back bears the brunt of the third trimester Buddha belly. The more you strengthen those muscles now, the less they’re likely to throw a fit through unwelcome pain later.
  3. Build your base. Likewise, leg muscles support those 20-something extra pounds you’re likely to gain during pregnancy. Start prepping them now.
  4. Stay in the zone. Easy-does-it isn’t always the best approach to exercise while you’re getting ready or trying to conceive. Being underweight and overdoing exercise can lead to problems with fertility. However, being overweight and not exercising enough can be equally problematic. Check out this study where researchers found that each hour per week of vigorous activity was associated with a 7% lower risk of ovulatory infertility.

Are you starting or changing up your exercise routine in light of your conception plans?


About The Preconceptionist

Where personal experience meets clinical and cultural preconceptions about birth and women's health.
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2 Responses to Surprising Preconception Fitness Facts

  1. healthybun says:

    I love to exercise, and quite rigorously, but I have to admit that while I’m in my two week wait, I get these nagging fears that my jogging or crazy ab exercises are somehow going to boot that blastocyst right out. I can’t help but worry that putting strain on my body could make it harder for my little egg to implant or somehow make my body think it’s under too much stress to get pregnant. But as you said, regular exercise actually boosts fertility, so I should just chill out, right? Heh.

  2. I can totally relate to that feeling, especially once I found out I was pregnant. But really, I was doing cardio within 20 minutes of sex on the day I think I conceived, and I worked out a good 5 times per week during the two-week-wait. I did turn down the intensity though. I’d say my heart rate was in the 120s and 30s instead of the usual 140s and 50s. Now my heart rate is almost always never above 120 ’cause I just can’t make myself go that fast. I just do what feels best.

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