Parenting · Pregnancy

Physical activity and planning a pregnancy – what’s the link?

Family playing outside

Many of us are making some new goals for ourselves.  A couple that is planning a pregnancy recently shared with me their resolution to be more physically active.  As a nurse, one of my passions is to promote the importance of health before pregnancy.   This couple reminded me of the many benefits physical activity can bring when planning for that next baby.

In fact, being more physically active will not only improve your overall health, but may improve your fertility and chances of having a healthy pregnancy & baby.

How can being more physically active improve fertility and my chances for a healthy pregnancy?

For starters, being physically active before you get pregnant will help you:

  • reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while promoting relaxation
  • improve your self-esteem, confidence, overall mental state and sleep
  • have more energy
  • increase resistance to disease and/or help control any current chronic disease
  • maintain a healthy weight

For women:

Being a healthy weight may improve chances of conceiving as menstrual cycles are more regular.  If you’re underweight, you may experience irregular periods or no periods at all.  Being overweight, on the other hand, may be linked to menstrual cycle irregularities, health problems in newborns and difficulties during pregnancy e.g., gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

For men:

Being a healthy weight has a positive effect on the quality and amount of sperm produced.  The good news is – if you’re overweight, the negative effects to sperm may be reversed when a healthy body weight is reached.

Good moderate physical activity includes walking or activities that allow you to sweat a little and breathe a little harder, but allow you to talk while you exercise.

There’s no need to go overboard!  According to Canada’s Physical Activity guidelines, adults 18-64 years of age should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week.

If you’re planning a pregnancy, comment below to let us know how you’re staying physically active!

6 thoughts on “Physical activity and planning a pregnancy – what’s the link?

  1. It does NOT “protect your fertility”! Oh my god please do not ever say that again. You obviously are clueless about the many causes of Infertility. Do NOT tell me that physical activity is why my ovaries stopped early or why my triathlon running friend has had 2 failed IVFs. Do NOT talk about exercise in that way, as it’s not only untrue but spitting in the face of every couple (1 in 8) who battle infertility.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. We have revised the above sentence accordingly. We agree that there are many factors that contribute to one’s fertility and while regular and moderate amounts of physical activity are recommended for everyone as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, being active before becoming pregnant, prepares the body for pregnancy and birth. Physical activity helps to improve one’s fertility and their ability to having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

      1. Physical activity does NOT help improve fertility for all women. If your body doesn’t make eggs it doesn’t matter how far you run on that treadmill. It also has nothing to do with miscarriage. Please stop spreading misinformation and blaming women for what’s happening to them on physical fitness. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Also BMI has no correlation to actual physical health. The person who introduced it in the early nineteenth century was a mathematician with no medical background, and it’s been proven over and over again that this formula is nonsensical and physiologically wrong.

      2. Thank you for your continued feedback. Infertility is a very challenging issue and can include factors that are beyond one’s control. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or

  2. I and my fiance indeed are planning for our first baby this year. We started going back to the gym and excercise more often (3 times a week) than we did last year (once a month or two) and we feel so far so good. Hope we continue our excerice routine and hear a good news before the year end.

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