Can too much exercise hurt our chances of conceiving?

The Best Level of Exercise for Preconception and Pregnancy

Research has shown that too much exercise can cause infertility due to low body weight and hormonal changes. Exhaustion caused by intense and regular exercise may render a body unable to conceive or sustain a pregnancy. But what is too much exercise? It can vary from person to person.

While one person may exercise three times a week for 60 minutes and be incapable of getting pregnant, another could work out 21 hours a week and have a healthy baby [source: Arc Fertility]. Research, however, has established some basic guidelines. The Mayo Clinic encourages women seeking to become pregnant to avoid working out more than seven hours a week [source: Heckel]. Outside of time parameters, studies have shown that working out every day -- or to the point of high fatigue -- is associated with an inability to become pregnant [source: Guy].

Your mother may have told you "all things in moderation." That advice rings true if you want to become a mother or father, too. Exercise and good nutrition are important components of a healthy pregnancy. Just don't exceed the time guidelines, become underweight, overheat or exercise to the point of exhaustion. Otherwise, you should be able to embrace your role as a healthy, active parent.

Related Articles


  • Attain Fertility Health Desk. "What's your ideal fertility weight?" Attain Fertility. (July 4, 2012)
  • Chang, Wendy M.D. "Body Fat, Exercise and Fertility." Southern California Reproductive Center. (July 4, 2012)
  • Guy, Sarah. "Too Much Exercise May Be Bad for Fertility." Bio News. Nov. 22, 2009. (July 4, 2012)
  • Heckel, Aimee. "Some Ultra-athletes See An Impact On Their Fertility." Daily Camera. Nov. 8, 2011. (July 4, 2012)
  • Mendez, Elizabeth. "More Americans Now Normal Weight Than Overweight." Oct. 7, 2011. (July 4, 2012)
  • "Can too much exercise affect fertility?" (July 4, 2012)
  • Reproductive Partners. "Can too much exercise impair fertility?" (July 4, 2012)