Exercising as a Surrogate Mother


Physical fitness during pregnancy is something that is beneficial to both you as a surrogate as well as the child you will be carrying. Physical health is generally something that appeals to many of our Intended Parents in their surrogate selection process as well.

Many surrogates report feeling a bit anxious about how to have a fit pregnancy when IVF is involved and the child is not their own genetic offspring. Rest assured that even though the conception process seems extremely tender, exercise and movement is perfectly safe, even encouraged, in the majority of IVF cases.

In fact, studies show that women who are moderately active prior to beginning IVF treatments often have slightly higher conception rates.

We know that pregnant women who engage in moderate physical activity experience less stress, better sleep, lower blood pressure and an easier return to their pre-pregnancy health and figure. The question becomes, “what is moderate?” Clearly a marathon runner’s level of moderate exercise will differ from the level of someone who hikes or takes walks once or twice per week. Here are the key things to keep in mind when determining your level of moderate exercise:

  • You should be able to hold conversations while doing moderate exercise
  • You should focus on shorter, more frequent exercise sessions
  • Don’t allow yourself to become exhausted.
  • Low impact exercises like walking or yoga are generally the best
  • If it feels like you’re overdoing it – you probably are

Keep in mind that you will be placed on bed rest immediately following your embryo transfer. You may be placed on restricted activities for the two week period following the transfer until the pregnancy can be confirmed by Beta blood testing. Generally at this time a doctor will clear you to resume previous levels of physical activities, with the exception of weight lifting.

The most important thing to bear in mind is to always talk with your doctor, nurse, or case specialist about your level of physical activity and what is safe and acceptable for you. You should always listen to the advice of these medical professionals and your case specialist in order to have the most successful journey possible.

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.