I can only imagine how stressful and scary it can be to try for a baby, but then find out it might not be possible for you.
Luckily there are lots of great tips and resources that can help with fertility. And yoga is one of them!
I’d like to share with you what I’ve found about how yoga can help with fertility. The most prominent link seems to be between stress and infertility, and we know that yoga helps with de-stressing.
So, the link may not be completely causal, but it’s definitely there.
So before writing this post, I had no idea there was something called ‘fertility yoga’.
Fertility yoga is a form of yoga that aims to help couples conceive, by reducing stress and increase calming.
To do this, fertility yoga involves breathing exercises, positive affirmations, visualisations and of course, yoga poses (asanas).
Fertility yoga focuses on relaxation and restoration
Fertility yoga can be practiced alone, or alongside a medical fertility treatment such as IVF.
Research conducted in 2015 found that six weeks of yoga significantly lowered anxiety levels in women undergoing IVF. This is so important because IVF can be an unpredictable and uncertain procedure, that often women have put a lot of faith and hope in.
Anything to make this process more relaxing and less stressful seems like a good idea to me.
Stress and infertility
From what I have read, it appears that yoga may help with infertility mainly because of yoga’s ability to help people de-stress.
The relationship between stress and infertility seems to be well debated.
And slightly frustrating. Because surely it is only natural to feel stressed and frustrated when you think you may be infertile, and research would suggest this would further feed into the infertility issue.
The link between stress and infertility is certainly hazy – with some people arguing that stress definitely does have an impact on infertility, and others simply saying that there is a link – but that link may purely be that infertility causes stress.
What we know for sure is that whatever stage we are at in life, we want less stress. And yoga can help with that!
Stop the struggling
I imagine that the journey to conceive can start to feel like a struggle – especially when you don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
Research has found that this mentality of struggle – which may also feature frustration and stress – can actually be counter-productive to your end goal.
Some women have reported that when they stopped struggling to conceive, they were able to get pregnant.
What this tells us is that your mindset and emotions during the process of trying to conceive is so important.
Yoga immensely helps us with accepting situations and circumstances that may be unpleasant for us, breathing through it and letting it be.
This acceptance can help reduce stress and frustration, potentially making the process of you getting pregnant more pleasant overall.
Fosters a healthy relationship with your body
It’s natural for a person to feel annoyed and confused when they discover they are infertile.
Someone may start to direct that hurt towards their own body.
This unfortunately only serves to exacerbate the issue. Yoga encourages self-love and self-compassion, and by not viewing your own body as the enemy and the problem, you strengthen the love you hold for yourself.
This acceptance and love may decrease stress levels, increasing your chances of conceiving.
This, however shouldn’t be the only reason you practice yoga and self-love.
By beginning a regular yoga practice with the intention of it purely being a means to help you get what you want, actually makes the practice quite counter-productive.
Yoga, self-love and self-compassion should be ongoing themes and practices throughout your life – not just for one stage of it!
Poses to try
There are a number of poses said to help with trying to conceive.
The general themes of the poses include:
- Forward bends
- Forward bends can be extremely restorative and releasing
- Reclining poses
- Reclining poses can open up the abdominal area, releasing tension held here
- Legs up the wall pose
- This pose is said to help with the conception process.
Now you can try to tailor your yoga practice to the most restorative and gentle poses, in order to aid you in your conception journey.
These poses may be most effective when coupled with restorative breathing techniques, positive affirmations and positive visualisations – as fertility yoga would teach.
What else might help?
How else can you begin the de-stress while trying to conceive?
Here are some ideas:
- Cut down on alcohol and smoking
- This should be a no-brainer for most of us. When you do get pregnant, you should be cutting these out completely. Why not make that easier for yourself by cutting down now.
- Get more exercise
- Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with a higher risk of infertility
- Exercise in general is great for your mind and body, so why not get some healthy habits going whilst you embark on your journey of getting pregnant!
- Eat foods high in antioxidants
- Research shows that eating a diet high in antioxidants can significantly improve factors associated with fertility.
- Fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains are generally high in antioxidants
- Cut out caffeine (maybe)
- Research on this is generally mixed, however it’s said that high caffeine intake may be linked to infertility
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintaining a healthy BMI can increase your likelihood of getting pregnant, as being either underweight or overweight can affect your chances of successfully conceiving
Yoga gives these tips and tricks structure
There’s no doubt that fertility yoga incorporates some really positive and interesting techniques to help couples conceive.
But do you need yoga to do these?
No, I think these techniques such as de-stressing, positive affirmations and breathing exercises could easily be incorporated into your daily routine, without a yoga practice.
What a regular practice does help with, is giving you the time and opportunity to practice these techniques, so may really help with getting your motivation going.
But ultimately, I believe that you can practice these tips with or without yoga!
Let me know your thoughts!