After assisted reproduction treatments
When pregnancy is achieved after an assisted reproduction technique is used, it should be considered a normal pregnancy. Nevertheless, in this context, the difficulty in achieving it – as well as the possibility of post-treatment residual discomfort – should always be taken into account.
The pregnancy hormone extends the effect of the ovarian stimulation for some time, maintaining the larger ovarian size, and so the risk of the ovaries becoming twisted can persist. In addition, the pregnancy hormone itself could trigger late-onset ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. In this context, we must recommend caution when it comes to exercising, and maintain any initial post-transfer or insemination recommendations that the professionals may have given.
In situations where no particular discomfort appears after pregnancy takes place, aerobic physical exercise – as for any pregnant woman – must be recommended, due to the beneficial effects for both mother and child. It’s been shown that physical exercise reduces the typical (such as digestive) discomforts of pregnancy, boosts psychological well-being by reducing anxiety, depression and insomnia, and promotes the introduction of healthful living habits. It also prevents blood pressure and protects against gestational diabetes.
The sports most recommended for early pregnancy are swimming, (static) cycling or light-to-moderate-intensity walking, for 20-40 minutes three times a week. Muscle training can be done one or twice a week at 50% of the intensity at which the pregnancy woman previously exercised, with 15-20 repetitions per exercise, and with special care for the pelvic, abdominal, lumbar and pectoral regions. Flexibility must be worked on daily, if possible.
Sports that must be avoided are contact sports, sports done on hard surfaces, and sports that increase abdominal pressure, such as jumping, basketball, volleyball, etc., or that require excessive work from these muscles.
During the first trimester of the pregnancy, women who previously engaged in regular physical exercise tend to be able to continue exercising. Having become pregnant through assisted reproductive techniques should not be an impediment to it, except for some specific contraindications due to a complication. In any event, we recommend spacing the training sessions, reducing their volume and intensity, and avoiding activities that are more likely to lead to injury.
For women who are sedentary or who exercise only very occasionally, it’s important to insist that pregnancy is not the time to start doing sport, especially if the pregnancy is due to an assisted reproduction treatment. Nevertheless, we do recommend including a specific programme of exercises aimed at maintaining optimal physical condition to prepare for giving birth.