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Exercise is an important part of everyday life and when you are trying to fall pregnant it is a good idea to try and maintain a healthy body. Some women may decide to refrain from vigorous exercise when trying to conceive, however, many will not be negatively affected by high-intensity workouts if used to this level of exercise. It is important to discuss your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional if you have any concerns or questions regarding exercise and trying to conceive.

Some great low-impact ways to work out that everyone can benefit from are:

  • Pilates - helping to tone the body and reduce stress
  • Swimming - a cardio exercise that is easy on the body
  • Walking - this offers a gentle way to reduce stress and build up your endurance
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A regular yoga session can offer an excellent way of de-stressing and is a proven form of effective relaxation. It will also aid with overall health and wellbeing by helping to:

  • Strengthen and tone the body
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Reduce low mood
  • Make you feel more in control

How does yoga help with fertility?

  • It helps to stimulate your heart and pelvic area and boosts blood flow to the uterus and ovaries
  • It reduces the levels of stress hormone in your blood stream
  • It supports and helps to regulate the bodies endocrine system

A 2018 study made up of 128 women undergoing fertility treatment showed significant improvement in stress reduction in the control group who attended a yoga class twice per week for 6 weeks. The findings stated that because yoga practices may be effective in reducing stress in those struggling with their fertility, it may as a result increase the success of fertility treatment.

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Lifestyle Medicine

When you are struggling with fertility issues it can be a very difficult time, both emotionally and physically. You can often be left feeling very powerless while various medical professionals take control of some the most personal aspects of your life.

Lifestyle medicine can be a way of helping you improve your health, to help improve your fertility. It has also been scientifically proven to improve your mental health while allowing you to take back some control of what’s happening to your body. Often, in areas as personal as fertility, it can be very easy to get swept into a world of unproven (yet expensive!) supplements, techniques and pseudo science. Lifestyle medicine provides an evidence based way to explore your whole health; your diet, exercise, sleep and mood.

While there is no one size fits all answer, the general principle of reducing processed food and boosting whole, plant based foods is going to have a positive effect on your health. And trying to manage stress is also important; whether as a way to improve fertility or to enable you to cope with the unpleasant process itself. Eating well, exercising (in a way you enjoy!), meditation or mindfulness and looking after your relationships are all things that will have a positive impact on your lifestyle and overall health.

If you are looking to make dramatic changes in your lifestyle then it is worth speaking to your fertility team to make sure that the approach is the right one for you.


Acupuncture is often the go to treatment for those wishing to optimise natural conception or support IVF.

But how does acupuncture help fertility?

A growing body of scientific research now supports the efficacy of acupuncture and clinical studies have shown that acupuncture helps fertility in the following ways: regulates female and male reproductive hormones, improves blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus and supports ovulation. Acupuncture also reduces cortisol levels - the body’s main stress hormone. It can benefit both women and men.

How does acupuncture support IVF?

During an IVF cycle acupuncture can support your treatment by promoting follicle development, supports the proliferation of endometrium lining to improve implantation, helps the body deal with the side effects of medication and reduces stress and anxiety also aiding restful sleep. Many patients report feeling calmer, which can only be a positive during what can be a very stressful time.

The optimum times to have acupuncture for IVF and other fertility treatment is:

  • in the 3 months leading up to an IVF/ICSI cycle as sperm and follicles take 100 days to mature
  • during the IVF stimulation phase,
  • before and after embryo transfer and
  • about 7 to 10 days post transfer during the 2 week wait.

Does acupuncture help increase IVF chances?

There are many studies that have looked at how acupuncture helps improve fertility, conception and pregnancy. However, as with most research related to complementary treatments, there is not enough to definitely prove (or disprove) its efficacy. A 2019 meta-analysis on 27 different studies that looked at the effect on pregnancy outcomes showed that acupuncture did have a positive influence and notes that more data from larger scale studies are needed to validate these findings before substantive claims can be made. However, thousands of women and men who have acupuncture certainly believe they benefit from the treatment not least because it helps them to feel proactive, relaxed, acknowledged and nurtured during what can be a very stressful time.

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) is the UK’s largest regulatory body for practitioners of traditional acupuncture and guarantees high standards of training, safe practice and professional conduct. The BAcC is regulated and approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, an independent body accountable to the UK Parliament. Look for the letters MBAcC after the name if your acupuncturist to be sure of extensive training – a minimum of three-year degree level with relevant western medicine including anatomy, physiology, pathology and research, adherence to BAcC codes of safe practice and professional conduct, compliance with current health and safety legislation, full insurance cover and mandatory continuing professional development to keep knowledge and skills up to date.

For more information and to find a practitioner please visit the British Acupuncture Council’s website: https://acupuncture.org.uk