By fertility advocate Jennifer Jay Palumbo
My first answer when hearing this question is, “Did you exercise before?” If you didn’t, after IUI, or intrauterine insemination, it is probably not the best time to start… but I’m not a doctor as much as I am just lazy.
Usually, couples will undergo IUI treatment if they have failed to conceive after a year. IUI helps give the sperm, as I like to put it, a “head start” by using a catheter to bypass the cervix. The success rate of IUI is about 5–20%, depending on your age. However, because of the procedure’s sensitivity, many women wonder if it is safe to exercise after IUI.
Implantation and Exercise
Fertile people never consider or even know what implantation is. They think it’s land in Atlanta, Georgia, somewhere.
To review, after the sperm and egg have met in the fallopian tube, the fertilized egg will travel down into the uterus. Here, the fertilized egg or ‘zygote’ will (hopefully) implant into the uterine wall.
If you’re having difficulty conceiving, you may be worried that exercise will impact implantation, or an aggressive class of pilates may dislodge something. Rest assured that the fear of an embryo “falling out” like a contact lens is natural, but the odds are slim of that actually happening.
That being said, I understand the fear. I got worried just peeing after an embryo transfer when I underwent IVF. Still, putting fears aside, you should absolutely ask your reproductive endocrinologist what you should and shouldn’t do to help increase your chances of implantation and healthy pregnancy.
Exercise after IUI: A Controversial Subject
While there isn’t any conclusive evidence that exercise will impact your ability to conceive, most medical professionals will recommend that you avoid high-intensity or strenuous activity for a few days.
According to some sources, you should avoid exercise after IUI because activity can raise your internal temperature. When pregnant, women are advised to keep their body temperature below 102°F to reduce the risk of complications.
However, some doctors see no reason why you can’t continue as normal. That said, many doctors advise women to avoid exercise for psychological reasons. If you can be sure you haven’t done anything to compromise your ability to conceive, you are less likely to blame yourself if the treatment is unsuccessful.
However, if you want to continue to exercise after IUI but are worried it may negatively impact implantation, try gentle exercise. For example, avoid activity involving high-impact moves like jumping or heavy lifting and instead try swimming, walking, or yoga. In fact, some research suggests that yoga may be beneficial for women trying to conceive.
Things to be Aware Of
Whatever you and your doctor decide about exercise, there are some essential things to look out for. First, if you experience any bleeding, cramps, or dizziness, you should stop what you’re doing immediately and relax. Remember, every fertility case is different, so consult with your doctor should you have any doubts!