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The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Dr. Diana Chavkin Discusses Yoga and Fertility

yoga7Unfortunately, stress and infertility seem to go hand in hand. Both the inability to conceive and infertility treatments can be stressful.

Though the scientific research is not conclusive about the exact nature of the stress and infertility connection, infertility providers realize that reducing stress is essential for the holistic patient care and a more satisfying patient experience. Giving patients tools to reduce stress can have tangible physical effects while also being emotionally empowering. We often recommend yoga prior to beginning fertility treatment as an excellent stress buster.

What is fertility yoga?

Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice with ancient roots that combine conscious breathing, meditation, and physical movements. Yoga participants may feel more relaxed and agile while receiving specific health benefits.

Fertility yoga enhances general yoga by its focus on yoga poses that can prepare your body for pregnancy and childbirth by strengthening reproductive organs and muscles.

Fertility yoga also provides many of our patients with a sense of peace, tranquility and newfound energy. These attributes assist them in coping better with infertility's challenges, including better decision-making, which can help in improving outcomes.

Some patients also find that combining fertility yoga with other mind/body therapies, such as acupuncture or guided imagery will further enhance calmness and clarity.

Do mind/body approaches help improve fertility?

Fertility yoga is characterized as a mind-body technique because it emphasizes mindfulness through breathing and meditation. It is unclear whether yoga or any specific mind-body modality aimed at lowering stress will increase pregnancy rates. But there is good evidence that those who are psychologically prepared for the outcome of their treatment will cope well throughout the process. Those who are better equipped to deal with an initial negative outcome will be more willing to undergo subsequent treatments, which will inevitably increase the ultimate chance of success.

Getting started

There are several ways to incorporate yoga into your routine. We can recommend local fertility yoga practitioners who offer classes and workshops. Also, there are many online resources and DVDs if you want to try poses on your own.

Though we can't say that practicing yoga will help you conceive faster, we can say that it most certainly will make you feel better about yourself and how you're dealing with treatment.

When to avoid yoga

Although yoga has many health benefits, it is crucial that you sometimes avoid specific yoga poses while you're undergoing fertility treatment, as well as during pregnancy. Make sure to discuss your specific yoga practice and exercise routine with your reproductive specialist.

References

http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(03)01138-5/fulltext

http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/17/1/21.pdf

http://www.ejog.org/article/S0301-2115(14)00076-1/fulltext

 

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