Being fit and healthy can improve your chances of conceiving
Getting fit before you fall pregnant can boost your overall health and help promote
fertility. Being in good shape will also allow your body to best prepare for the
physical challenge of labour and birth.
If you’re currently not exercising at all, now is the time to start. The best way
to build fitness is to begin with small, regular bouts of exercise. Try walking
20 minutes each day, working your way up to 30 minutes or more. Walk briskly to
get your heart pumping and the blood circulating through your body.
Private health insurance
Do you want to be cared for by the public or private health system during the pregnancy
and birth? If you plan to have your baby as a private patient, you’ll generally
need to be insured for at least 12 months before you become pregnant.
Balance is key
Exercising too much can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. The reason is that
too little body fat can disrupt your menstrual cycle. On the other hand, women who
are overweight may not be able to fall pregnant, either. Ideally, aim to keep your
BMI (body mass index) in the healthy range, between 20 and 25.
If you’re trying to get pregnant and want to determine your best exercise program,
talk to your GP.
Another important benefit of exercise is that it helps you to better cope with the
stresses that often accompany trying for a baby.
Prolonged stress can affect your chances of falling pregnant as you may ovulate
later in your cycle or not at all. So if you’re only having sex around day 14, thinking
that’s when you’re most likely to ovulate, you may miss your opportunity to conceive.
Exercise relieves stress by releasing ‘happy hormones’ or endorphins which encourage
you to relax.
Fit-to-be mum with these activities:
- Swimming is an ideal form of exercise to adopt if you’re planning to conceive, as
it’s a gentle but effective workout which you can easily continue into your pregnancy.
- The best thing about cycling is that the bike supports your weight, so there is
less stress on your body. Cycling on a stationary bike is safer because you have
less chance of falling off. Start slowly and do not over-exert yourself.
- Yoga and pilates are great for building up muscle tone, developing strength and
flexibility and for helping you relax. Both also have the advantage that you can
later move on to pregnancyspecific courses and exercises.
Workouts for men
Men who are completely inactive are more likely to struggle with fertility. Light
gym workouts, walking, swimming and yoga are recommended for men and women – provided
the exercise is not excessive. Men should avoid Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga as sperm develops
in cool environments and spending time in hot places, like spas and saunas, can
hinder the chances of conception. Men should also wear groin protection if playing
Love, set, match!
Regular exercise improves energy levels, which can also improve activity in the
bedroom. People who are out of shape are often less motivated to have sex as they
tend to tire more easily, have a lower sex drive and less stamina than people who
Exercise, along with a healthy diet and adequate sleep, can boost your libido, as
a workout will trigger the release of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good chemicals.
A good mood can also enhance our feelings of love and romance – the perfect recipe
Remember, sex itself is also a form of exercise, both aerobic and cardiovascular.
It works multiple muscles in your body (especially if you are trying different positions)
and keeps you flexible – more reasons to get active in the bedroom.
- Stay hydrated by drinking two litres of water per day.
- Keep your metabolism busy and your blood sugar stable by eating small, healthy snacks
- Replace sugary snacks with natural sugar, found in fruit.
- Fill up on fibre as it will reduce hunger and keep you regular.
- Tuck into plenty of fresh vitamin-rich vegetables.