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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
April 18, 2012

Moderate Exercise May Help Women Conceive, Study Shows

Research shows that spending more than five hours a week doing moderate exercise may increase your chances of getting pregnant. By Jennifer Chan

Couples who are eager to start a family can expect a few challenges waiting for them down the road—changing diapers, finding daycare centers, getting through the night in one piece. For some, however, the biggest challenge is in trying to conceive.  While some women end up getting pregnant on the first try, others are not as lucky.

If you want to increase your chances of conceiving, engaging in moderate exercise might help. According to a recent study, women who devote more time to exercise are more likely to get pregnant than women who work out less each week. 

Researchers followed more than 3,500 Danish women between the ages of 18 and 40 who were trying for a baby in the course of a year. During the study, 70 percent of the women did get pregnant. As it turned out, women who worked out moderately for more than five hours a week were 18 percent more likely to conceive than women who only spent less than an hour on exercise each week.

However, this isn’t your cue to start overexercising. According to the study, lean women who spend more than five hours each week in vigorous exercise were 32 percent less likely to become pregnant than women who didn’t exercise vigorously at all. 

So does weight play a significant role in family planning? Researchers can’t say for certain, although women who have weight issues generally have a harder time conceiving. Apparently, fat may make extra estrogen, which in turn may block other hormones that are crucial for ovulation. However, there is no clear reason why women who have less fat and who exercise vigorously may also have a harder time conceiving. At this point, it can’t hurt to keep your exercise moderate. 

(Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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