The role of maternal physical activity on in vitro fertilization outcomes: a systematic review and meta‑analysis

Eleftheria Kakargia, Eleftherios Mamalakis, Maximos Frountzas, Evangelos  Anagnostou, Charalampos Siristatidis

Purpose This systematic review is designed to summarize the evidence concerning the impact of maternal physical activity on the reproductive outcomes following assisted reproduction techniques (ART), namely in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Methods We searched for eligible studies on PubMed, EMBASE databases and the Cochrane Library from their inception until September 2021. Our primary outcomes were live birth rate and miscarriage, while secondary ones included clinical pregnancy and implantation rates. The quality of the evidence was evaluated using a study-specific adaptation of the Robins I tool.
Results Quantitative data from 10 cohort studies (CS) and 2 randomized control trials (RCT), involving 3431 women undergoing ART treatments, were included in the analyses. The pooled results exhibited uncertainty regarding the effect of physical activity on live birth rate per woman (OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.92–1.43, p = 0.23, I2 = 61%, 9 studies) and miscarriage rates (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.44–1.43, p = 0.43, I2 = 44%, 6 studies). However, physical activity was associated with significantly improved clinical pregnancy rate after ART (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.08–1.79, p = 0.0009, I2 = 68%, 10 studies), whereas implantation rate after ART almost reached statistical significance (OR = 1.95, 95% CI 0.99–3.82, p = 0.05, I2 = 77%).
Conclusion The current evidence is still insufficient to firmly conclude on the effect of maternal physical activity on live birth, miscarriage and implantation rates. Although clinical pregnancy rates favored physical activity in this group of patients, these results must be undertaken with caution due to the low quality and the high heterogeneity of the studies included.

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