Monday, October 30, 2006



I exercise semi-regularly (running/swimming 2-3 times a week + cycling to/from work), and have been trying to find evidence about the effects of exercise on conception/pregnancy.

General advice on the web can be a little confusing. BabyCentre come down in favour of exercise (within certain parameters), quoting a Norwegian study of 42 women that showed no relationship between exercise intensity and birth outcomes. (To me, 42 is too few women to draw any firm conslusions).

A review from the respected Cochran Database says the jury's out with regard to pregnancy outcomes and that larger trials are needed.

The Royal College of Obstetricians gives some quite detailed advice supporting exercise, but with few references to supporting evidence.

More important to me at this time, I've seen absolutely nothing with regards to exercise and chances of conception. So what should I do? I went running the day after insemination this month, and then spent the next couple of days worrying that I might have dislodged the little swimmers en route. I've avoided running since, fearful that the impact of pavement running, in particular, could prevent implantation. I have absolutely no evidence on which to base this though, and that's a shame. A large prospective study in this area shouldn't be too hard to design.

For now, I think I'm going to concentrate on swimming/cycling in the second fortnight of the month, and save running for the first. This is based entirely on avoiding my own worries, and I would much rather make an informed choice. If anyone knows of better evidence in this area, please comment?

One last point. Most of the guidance I've read in this area suggests keeping heart-rate down to 145 or below. Obviously, I've no idea about heart rates once you're carrying a baby, but, right now, I struggle to see the fun in that. Can low impact exercise really be fun? I guess I'm going to have to find out!

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