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The IVF Fertility Blog

Athletics and Infertility, Can You Be Too Fit To Get Pregnant?

Physical fitness is an important part of a woman’s overall health.  Regular exercise can relieve stress, help women achieve and maintain a healthy weight and increase their fertility.  However, for women who compete in exercise related sports, their athletics may negatively impact their fertility.

For competitive athletes, low body fat and an intensive exercise and conditioning plan, it is common to stop having a menstrual cycle.  Known as hypothalamic amenorrhea, this occurs when a woman’s body stops making estrogen.  The symptom can be seen in as many as 25 percent of high school athletes.   If not treated, amenorrhea can result in infertility.

Several well-known competitive athletes have turned to fertility treatments for assistance becoming pregnant including Olympic medalist Dara Torres and tennis pro Gigi Fernandez.

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How Much Is Too Much?

Issues with fertility are most commonly seen in competitive and professional athletes.  Research has shown that as many as 44 percent or professional dancers do not have regular periods.  Additionally, testing has found that jogging as few as 12 to 18 miles a week can negatively impact fertility by decreasing estrogen and progesterone levels. 

Should I Stop Exercising?

It is not necessary to stop exercising completely in order to increase fertility.  Regularly exercising is an important part of increasing blood flow, maintaining a healthy weight and overall fitness.  Additionally, exercise is a natural stress reliever.  When going through fertility treatment, speak with your doctor or nurse about how much exercising you should be doing.  This may be different for every woman so it is important to have an open dialogue with your medical professionals.

Egg Freezing

Professional athletes should consider freezing their eggs as a way to prolong and preserve their fertility.  If harvested early on, egg freezing can allow women the freedom to pursue their sport without worrying that they are sacrificing the ability to have families in the future.  Female athletes should speak with a fertility expert to understand their options.

To learn more about the link between athletics and infertility, contact New Hope Fertility Center today. Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676. Thank You.

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