Do You Freeze Your Eggs? What You Should Know About Exercise

You might be lured to investing in your fertility if you have not yet found the right partner with whom to start a family or if you have important objectives to achieve before starting a family. And if so, you wouldn’t be by yourself. Over the past ten years, the practice of freezing eggs or embryos has become increasingly popular. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reports that as of 2020, the number of total egg freezing cycles has increased in the United States by more than 104% since 2009.

The greatest gift you could possibly give your future self would be to set aside your eggs or embryos for use in the future. The procedure, nevertheless, can be physically, mentally, and spiritually taxing.

According to San Francisco-based OB-GYN Jasmine Pedroso, M.D., FACOG, and OB-GYN for Kindbody , “egg freezing is as much a mental and emotional journey as it is a physical trip.” “It’s crucial to keep exercising if it helps you manage your stress levels a lot.”

Modifications are necessary, however, according to Dr. Pedroso, because overexertion during an egg freezing cycle poses a risk. While undergoing fertility treatment, it can be challenging to specify exactly what a safe workout should entail and to identify which exercise routines are genuinely useful for your health. Here, Dr. Pedroso and other specialists provide clarification on how to exercise safely while undergoing an egg or embryo freezing cycle.

A CYCLE OF EGG FREEZING: WHAT HAPPENS Here’s a basic rundown of what to anticipate throughout the freezing process for eggs or embryos (also known as fertilized eggs): Your process may begin when you get your period or following a round of birth control tablets, depending on your age, menstrual cycles, chosen timing, and other considerations. After that, you’ll inject yourself with medicine every night for 10 to 14 days. While your individual biology will determine the specific meds your doctor prescribes, they often contain an follicle-stimulating hormone (FYI, follicles are small sacs inside the ovaries that fill with fluid and contain developing eggs). Instead of the single mature egg that is generally produced during ovulation, which happens once a month around day 14 of your cycle, this injection causes your ovaries to create several mature eggs. An antagonist will also be part of your pharmaceutical regimen; it stops your body from ovulating early and releasing eggs before the time allotted for egg retrieval.

Human chorionic gonadotropin will be injected as a “trigger” shot after your follicles are about 12-19 mm in diameter. This will start the process of assisting eggs in maturing. The next step is egg retrieval, which involves finding developing eggs using an ultrasound probe put into the vagina and suctioning them out. Eggs are determined to be mature on the day of the retrieval by looking at them under a microscope to see if a tiny cell, called the polar body, is visible in the egg shell. Finally, the mature eggs are either frozen or fertilized (to become embryos) and then frozen, depending on whether you’ve chosen a sperm supplier or not.

HOW EGG FREEZING’S PHYSICAL SIDE EFFECTS AFFECT YOUR WORKOUT You might be concerned how all the pills and procedures will affect your ability to exercise because there are so many variables at play throughout an egg-freezing cycle. The physical symptoms and side effects of egg freezing are discussed here, along with how they may impair your ability to exercise safely and pleasantly.

YOU’LL FEEL PRESSURE AND BLOATING IN YOUR ABDOMEN. According to Jessica Ryniec, M.D., an ob-gyn and reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at CCRM Fertility in Boston, the size of the ovaries can increase from that of strawberries to possibly that of grapefruits as a result of the fertility medicines. She says that because of this, women may experience more bloating and pressure, including a sense of fullness. You may feel more lethargic than usual as a result of this side effect, which may cause you to work out less intensely than usual.

OVARIAN TORSION IS A POSSIBILITY FOR YOU. Doctors are especially concerned about the danger of ovarian torsion when advising patients on how to exercise during an egg or embryo freezing cycle.

According to Dr. Pedroso, “the larger your ovaries become during the egg freezing process, the more exposed your ovaries are to twisting and cutting off their blood supply.” Although uncommon, this condition not only causes excruciating agony but also is a surgical emergency that may impair ovarian function.

Your doctor will advise against high-impact exercises during an egg-freezing cycle because of this. According to Dr. Ryniec, it is generally not advised for people to engage in any very strenuous activities because torsion risk is increased. She continues by saying that this guidance is applicable both while you are receiving ovarian stimulation and for around 10 days following egg retrieval as the ovaries heal.

6 CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TO YOUR EXERCISE WHILE EGG OR EMBRYO FREEZING Your doctor would probably advise you to continue with low-impact activity while you start the injections and your follicles start to expand. After all, according to Dr. Ryniec, exercise may improve blood flow and can help you feel a little better during the procedure.

One important point to remember is that, according to Sheeva Talebian, M.D., a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist with CCRM New York, ovarian stimulation increases the risk of dehydration. Therefore, make sure to increase your electrolytes and hydrate even more than you think you need to when doing out.

Examine here safe and maybe advantageous techniques to move during an egg or embryo freezing cycle. Naturally, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen or changing an existing one.

GO OUTSIDE AND TAKE A WALK. Walking at a moderate pace is not just a relaxing way to get some fresh air, but it’s also one of the exercises that professionals who have worked with women who freeze their eggs most regularly suggest.

Instead of driving to do an errand, you may use a nearby path or just walk, advises Shannon Decker, an ISSA-certified trainer and expert in pre- and postnatal fitness. Even though it may be the last thing you want to do, she explains that it is safe, convenient, and will improve both your physical and mental well-being. She goes on to say that talking on the phone with friends, finding a walking partner, or listening to podcasts may all make a walk even more delightful.

WALKING ON A TREADMILL IS INCLINED. Choose incline walking on a treadmill for 20 to 30 minutes if you’re unable to attend your favorite HIIT class and feel the urge for a cardio fix while your eggs are being frozen. According to Katie Breard , a pre- and postnatal training specialist, incline walking will encourage healthy blood flow and lower stores of the stress hormone cortisol , which may be on the rise due to the increased stress of the egg or embryo freezing process. Low-impact cardiovascular exercise, like incline walking, is particularly excellent for improving digestion, which can be significantly hindered by “your medications,” according to the expert.

Additionally, according to number of total egg freezing cycles 0, a pre- and postnatal fitness specialist and NASM-certified personal trainer, even a slight inclination will cause your hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles to contract. Just keep moving at a moderate pace to prevent bouncing, impacting, and running, she advises.

PURSUE SWIMMING. If you have access to a pool, you’d do well to take a plunge in Breard’s favorite form of exercise. She claims that swimming is not only easy on your joints but also burns roughly 250 calories in 30 minutes.

According to number of total egg freezing cycles 1 and yoga instructor Darby McCullough, E-RYT 500, swimming has spiritual advantages as well. She explains that water is connected to reproductive health and is associated with the sacral chakra, which is situated at the lower abdomen and inner pelvis. In order to tune into and support that energy, which is amplified and frequently taxed during an egg or embryo freezing cycle, swimming can be a wonderful activity.

Stretching and foam rolling as you stand up. While it may not seem like a “workout” in the traditional sense, any comprehensive fitness program includes mobility-enhancing recovery exercises. Think of the egg freezing procedure as a chance to make this a regular part of your schedule. Gentle stretching, foam rolling, and sometimes the use of a massage gun or myofascial release techniques—which alleviate tight fascia and lessen inflammation—are used to start sessions with the majority of Priore’s clients receiving reproductive therapy, she observes.

Both techniques are excellent for increasing blood flow and getting the body moving, especially when you’re feeling exhausted and sore, she adds.

IN A MODIFIED POSITION, LIFT LIGHTER. Dr. Talebian, who advises avoiding heavy lifting, notes that strength exercise done while seated or standing without bending, jumping, or twisting can be safe the entire time.

According to Priore, depending on how you feel, you could opt to concentrate on upper body exercises that don’t require twisting or put pressure on the core, like standing triceps kickbacks, biceps curls, and shoulder presses. Remember: During and after fertility therapy, pressure on the core may result in ovarian torsion and affect your ovarian function.

TAKE RESORT YOGA. According to McCullough, yoga and breathwork are excellent for balancing hormones as well as the endocrine and lymphatic systems, both of which accumulate stress and tension. However, stay away from Vinyasa and/or hot courses where you’re sweating profusely and practicing inversions as this may increase your chance of ovarian torsion.

Instead, McCullough advises enrolling in a Yin yoga session, which involves relaxing in passive positions designed to increase flexibility. She adds that a leisurely, in-depth practice—like Yin or Hatha—can be really beneficial for controlling your breath, bringing your mood into balance, and lowering cortisol. Additionally, it is important to work with a yoga instructor that is knowledgeable about variations and open to discussing how to guide you through them so that you won’t feel compelled to assume an uncomfortable pose.

THE KEY LEARNING REGARDING EXERCISE DURING EGG FREEZING In the end, it’s important to listen to your body when it tells you which movements are okay to execute and which might be better put on hold. McCullough advises against doing something if it is stressful, you are too out of breath, or you feel like you are pushing yourself. She says that while going through an egg or embryo freezing cycle, it’s best to remain in your comfort zone.

Dr. Ryniec continues, “Certainly if any activities are creating discomfort in any way, it’s time to change the routine or pause.” And if you’re unsure about how to maintain your routine, she suggests speaking with your doctor about the safest activities for you to engage in while undergoing reproductive therapy.

Decker advises rephrasing the time-out if it transpires that you need to slow down your routine more than you had originally planned. Rest will only energize and prepare you to be more enthusiastic when it’s time to resume, she says.

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