Exercise is a great way to maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress and anxiety. However, when undergoing an egg collection cycle, exercise can have risks that need to be taken seriously.

While you are taking your hormones and injectable medications, your ovaries are growing multiple eggs are one time. This dramatically increases the size of your ovaries. Since your ovaries are not used to carrying this many eggs on both sides, they can become unstable.  This instability increases the risk of ovarian torsion meaning there becomes a possibility that they can twist. The risk is small but significant, so it’s important to know which exercises are more dangerous during stimulation, and why.

Exercises You Can Do During Egg Retrieval

Walking

Walking may not seem like much of an athletic event, but it is a good way to get your heart rate up.  In addition, it can burn as many calories as running. If you need a daily run to stay balanced, consider a brisk walk instead on a fairly level surface like a track, sidewalk, or beach – especially if your doctor is urging you to lay off the running.

Upper Body Weights

Lifting can be safe in an egg retrieval cycle, but be careful to keep the twisting and bending to a minimum. Light arm exercises are also good but make sure the weights are on a rack so you don’t have to bend over to pick them up.

Yoga* 

There’s a star next to yoga because certain types of practice can be very intense and therefore not safe when your ovaries are enlarged.  It is recommended to hold comfortable positions and slowly change poses to ensure there are no rapid movements that could lead to ovarian torsion.

Avoid These Exercises Before & After Egg Retrieval

do not swim roughly during egg retreival

Spinning & Running

As noted above, any brisk and intense exercises that include rapid movement increase the risks of ovarian torsion.  Because spinning and running tend to have rapid movements, they are not recommended and should be avoided while you are undergoing your treatment.  This is especially important during the tenth to the twelfth day of stimulation.

Abdominal Crunches

Crunches or situps increase pressure on the abdominal area. This is not only risky for the ovaries but may be painful due to limited space in the abdominal area.  The space that once was there is now being taken by the enlarged ovaries.

Swimming

Swimming is allowed if you are simply floating or wading in the water, but swimming laps or fancy flip-turns are not recommended.

How Soon Can I Exercise After Egg Retrieval?  

You can begin to do the intense exercises generally two weeks after egg retrieval or as soon as you get your next period.  This signals that the ovaries have returned to proper size and are beginning to function normally once again.

How Soon Can I Exercise After Embryo Transfer?

If you are concerned about how quickly you can return to exercise after embryo transfer, it is recommended to follow the guidelines above and limit intense exercises for one week before transfer and two weeks after.

In all cases, with these exercises, use your best judgment and do not push yourself to do excessive exercise during ovarian stimulation.  If you have questions about what additional exercises are safe or discouraged, please fill out our Contact Us form.  We would love to hear from you.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Joseph Davis

Dr. Joseph Davis, a board certified reproductive endocrinologist and founder of Destination Fertility

Founder of Destination Fertility