Can I Work Out While Doing Fertility Treatments?

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If you’re undergoing fertility treatments to help you conceive a baby, you probably have a lot on your mind. You might be doing a fair amount of second-guessing your usual activities, too. You might wonder if it’s safe to eat particular foods, drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages, or engage in certain activities, like coloring your hair or using your favorite skin care product containing salicylic acid. And yes, you may also wonder if you can (or should) exercise, especially if exercise is part of your usual routine. 

“Beginning fertility treatment can bring on a variety of emotions, including apprehension about what can and cannot be done during the process,” says Priyanka Ghosh, MD, an OB/GYN with Columbia University Fertility Center in New York. “For many, exercise is a large part of life, whether it be for health reasons or as a means of managing stress during a process that is inherently stressful.”

The high-level overview is that you may be able to exercise when undergoing fertility treatments, but it depends on a multitude of factors including what treatment you're getting, the type and intensity of the movement, and your physical health state. Here, experts break down how to approach exercise when undergoing fertility treatments.

An Overview of Infertility and Fertility Treatments

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), infertility occurs when there is some sort of breakdown in the male or female reproductive tract that prevents the conception of a baby or the ability to carry a pregnancy to delivery.  Typically, experts advise people to try to conceive for 12 months, unless there are other contributing factors that might shorten that time frame, such as age or medical conditions.

But if you've exceeded that window of time, your doctor may want to investigate the possible causes of infertility. And because there's not one single cause of infertility, there are a number of different kinds of fertility treatments.  

Many people think of assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) when they think of fertility treatments. Depending on why you are experiencing infertility, your healthcare provider may talk to you about the various fertility treatments that are available.

Fertility medicines, such as drugs to induce ovulation, like clomiphene, may be offered to you, either as a stand-alone treatment or along with another procedure.

Some people experiencing infertility may need to undergo a surgical procedure, such as one to address fallopian tube blockages or blockages of the epididymis, the tube that transports maturing sperm from the testes to the vas deferens.

Finally, there's assisted conception, which can include IUI and IVF. You may need more than one treatment or more than one cycle. For example, you may need to take an ovulation-stimulating drug as part of one or more IVF cycles. 

Once you know more about which treatment your doctor is recommending, then you can start asking about what kind of exercise to do—and what to avoid.

Can I Work Out When I’m Trying to Conceive?

Generally speaking, doctors like the idea of exercising while you try to get pregnant.

Matthew Macer, MD, founder and medical director of Halo Fertility in California, recommends that people who are trying to conceive stick with their usual routine, especially if it helps them manage their stress levels. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) also notes that reducing stress can help people have a better quality of life while navigating a challenging experience, like infertility.

“Regarding exercise, I recommend continuing exactly what they have been doing if helps them relieve stress,” Dr. Macer says. “That means, don’t suddenly start exercising ‘for fertility’s sake,’ if it just adds additional stress to your life.”

However, he adds, even if you’re accustomed to exercising daily, that doesn’t mean you should go sign up for a marathon. “The goal with exercise is to continue what your body is already conditioned to do." The bottom line: don't overexert it when you are trying to conceive.

Regarding exercise, I recommend continuing exactly what they have been doing if helps them relieve stress. That means, don’t suddenly start exercising ‘for fertility’s sake,’ if it just adds additional stress to your life.


Exercising During Fertility Treatments

You may wonder if the advice changes when undergoing fertility treatments. The answer is “perhaps.” 

“Any exercise is beneficial, but you should avoid high-impact activities, [as well as] twisting and jumping motions,” says Dr. Ghosh. Rigorous exercise during ovarian stimulation could boost your chances for ovarian torsion.

But the advice also can vary from person to person. 

“The bottom line is there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation,” says Kari Carlson, MD, OB/GYN and director of Women’s Health at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. “There is no industry standard definition of ‘light exercise during pregnancy.’ It depends on the person's level of fitness and exercise regimens, as well as general health pre-pregnancy or pre-fertility treatment.” 

Also, the recommendation for exercise will vary, depending on the type of fertility treatment you’re undergoing, according to Alex Robles, MD, an OB/GYN at Columbia University Fertility Center.

Below, take a closer look at what is recommended and what should be avoided for specific fertility treatments.


Intrauterine insemination (IUI) entails the transfer of semen directly into the uterus with a thin catheter. Sometimes it’s done in conjunction with medicines to spur ovulation, and other times it’s not. It is often used when erectile dysfunction or other sperm delivery issues create an obstacle to conception. It can also be an option when there’s cervical scarring that might prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

“When you are doing an IUI, you are generally growing one to two eggs in your ovaries, and timing the insemination up with ovulation,” says Dr. Macer. “I encourage patients to continue their normal exercise routine throughout this entire process, other than taking a day off from exercise the day of insemination.” 

Dr. Robles notes that the ovaries don't usually grow as large as they might during IVF, so moderate exercise is generally safe. "However, low-impact exercises are still ideal, especially around the time of ovulation and the IUI," he adds. So unless your doctor says otherwise, you may want to delay the more intense, high-impact workouts until a later date.


In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common types of assisted reproductive technology (ART). During IVF, a technician uses sperm to fertilize eggs in a petri dish in the lab. Once you have a viable embryo, the embryo is transferred into the uterus. 

However, before the fertilization process can occur, your healthcare provider will procure the raw materials: the egg and the sperm.

With the egg, there must be a retrieval process. Often, a fertility drug is used to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs for retrieval. Dr. Macer notes that the goal is to grow as many eggs as your ovaries will allow during a 10–14 day process. 

“For the first six days, I encourage patients to exercise normally,” he says. “However, once the eggs get bigger, around days six or seven, they can be more fragile, as well as temporarily increase the size of the ovaries. Since ovaries are not ‘fixed’ in your pelvis, they can move around and twist on their blood supply, especially when they are larger than normal, which can be dangerous." Past studies have shown that exercise can increase the risk of ovarian in some cases.

For this reason, he asks patients to stop all exercise from around day six until a week after their egg retrieval. Dr. Robles also advises patients to avoid moderate or high-intensity exercise during and after the stimulation phase, while the ovaries are enlarged and at risk for twisting. “For example, you should avoid running, intense cycling, and high-intensity interval training workouts,” he says. “Gentle exercises, such as walking and basic yoga movements that do not involve twisting are considered to be safe.” 

You may also want to be careful for a few days after undergoing embryo transfer. "After an embryo transfer, we recommend avoiding elevated temperatures for at least 48 hours, which may interfere with embryo transplantation," says Dr. Robles.

Fortunately, you don't have to be completely sedentary, as research suggests that bed rest immediately after an embryo transfer won't improve your chances of successfully conceiving.

If you’re unsure exactly how to exercise and need some specific guidance, you could also check out P.volve’s "Moving During Fertility Treatment" exercise program. The series was designed for people undergoing ovarian stimulation and retrieval as part of an egg donation, egg freezing, and IVF process. It can be completed in three phases that line up with your body’s changes during the ovarian stimulation process. 

“It is imperative that movements are modified during the ovarian stimulation process,” says Maeve McEwan, master instructor for P.volve, explaining that the series avoids having participants twist, jump, or make excessive movements with their pelvis. 

As for the sperm, working out might help with that too, especially if you blend a couple of different types of exercise. A recent study in the journal Sports Health found that a combined aerobic and resistance training regimen was more effective than any other type of exercise intervention in improving male infertility. 

A Word From Verywell

A careful approach to exercise during infertility treatment seems to be the best way to go. You should always consult your own healthcare provider for guidance, since you may have other health conditions or concerns that need to be addressed. Don't forget to listen to your body, and rest when you feel that you need to, since the process can be both physically and emotionally taxing.

8 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Jennifer Larson
Jennifer Larson is a seasoned journalist who regularly writes about hard-hitting issues like Covid-19 and the nation's ongoing mental health crisis, as well as healthy lifestyle issues like nutrition and exercise. She has more than 20 years' of professional experience and hopes to log many more.