How Do Exercise, Weight, and Age Affect Fertility?

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on August 09, 2021
1 min read

Exercise should be encouraged for both women and men who are gearing up to try to conceive. However, excessive, strenuous exercise in women may result in disruption of the ovulation cycle, thereby affecting their periods. Normal exercise has not been linked to miscarriages (loss of pregnancy), but certain forms of exercise (for example, high-impact or contact sports or scuba diving) should be avoided in pregnancy. In men, too much exercise may cause a low sperm count.

A healthy diet is very important for women who are trying for a baby. Being overweight can affect a woman's fertility and can cause complications during pregnancy. Women who are overweight and who are planning a pregnancy would be advised to lose weight before they conceive.

Weight loss with anorexia or bulimia can disrupt women's menstrual cycle and thereby reduce their chances of becoming pregnant.

Women's peak fertility is in their early 20s. At age 32 and beyond (and particularly after 40), the likelihood of becoming pregnant reduces. As men age, levels of testosterone fall, and the volume and concentration of sperm change.

Healthy couples younger than 30 years who have regular sexual intercourse and use no contraception have a 25% to 30% chance of achieving pregnancy each month.