Association of physical activity in the past year and immediately after in vitro fertilization on pregnancy

Higher self-reported past year physical activity was associated with favorable pregnancy outcomes following in vitro fertilization (IVF). Physical activity and sedentary behavior following IVF were not associated with pregnancy outcomes.

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Kelly R. Evenson, Ph.D., M.S., Kathryn C. Calhoun, M.D., Amy H. Herring, Sc.D., David Pritchard, M.S., Fang Wen, M.S., M.Sc., Anne Z. Steiner, M.D., M.P.H.

Volume 101, Issue 4, Pages 1047-1054.e5



To estimate the association of physical activity on in vitro fertilization (IVF).


Prospective cohort study.


Academic infertility clinic.


Women (n = 121) undergoing nondonor IVF embryo transfer (fresh or frozen).


The women completed a questionnaire on past year physical activity and wore an accelerometer from embryo transfer to serum pregnancy testing.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Implantation, intrauterine gestation, and live birth.


Based on self-reported past year physical activity, the adjusted odds of intrauterine gestation was higher among those that had higher continuous active living (odds ratio [OR] 1.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09–3.50), sports/exercise (OR 1.48, CI 1.02–2.15), and total activity (OR 1.52, 95%CI 1.15–2.01) indices. After embryo transfer, women did almost no vigorous activity (median 0 min/d) as measured by the accelerometer. More of their time was spent in light activity (median 3.0 h/d) and sedentary behaviors (median 9.3 h/d). Accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary behavior after embryo transfer were not associated with any IVF outcome.


An active lifestyle in the preceding year favorably impacted the IVF outcome. After embryo transfer, women engaged in mostly light physical activity and sedentary behaviors; therefore, the impact of vigorous physical activity on implantation could not be determined.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.