After trying to get pregnant for over a year, my husband and I were given the kind of devastating news no couple who is trying to start a family wants to hear: “You have about a 10% chance of getting pregnant – even with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). But I knew in my heart this had to be wrong. I had conceived and miscarried before, so I knew that my body was capable of becoming pregnant.
Luckily for me, I was already practicing yoga on a daily basis for a few years. I didn’t need to learn anything new – instead I kept up my daily routine.
Getting on the mat helped me stay balanced during the most stressful time of my life as I was undergoing fertility treatments. It also helped calm me during some of the toughest days after I had miscarried.
After a year of undergoing fertility tests, medications and stress – I finally got pregnant in March 2010. Today, I am the proud mother of a toddler boy! To this day I credit yoga with helping me become a mom.
Here are the top 6 reasons why yoga was instrumental in helping me during my journey to conceive.
1. Reduces stress
After every yoga class I felt peace of mind and tranquility. It helped my body relax and calmed my mind and slowed my breath down. The nervous system which is aided by the breath helps lower stress hormones like cortisol. This is potentially beneficial for fertility and helps you sleep better at night!
2. Increases blood flow to the uterus.
In infertility, often times we see blockages in some area of the body, specifically below the waist. Practicing a yoga pose called pigeon helped open up my hips, glutes and thighs. The energy begins to move in the lower regions of the body.
3. Strengthens the immune system
Studies show pranayama (breath control) and meditation are tools for stress-reducing activities that produce positive changes in the immune system. Learning to listen to the body’s natural rhythms through yoga and breathing can bring a deep sense of peace and connection to our own innate healing capacity. It helped me feel more empowered during my journey to conceive.
4. Improves ovarian function
Practicing certain yoga poses like legs up the wall increase blood circulation to the pelvis and near the ovaries. When you invert the body in yoga, it increases blood flow to the reproductive organs which means increased oxygen capacity and more nutrients to the reproductive organs .
5. Lessens side effects of hormonal treatments
You feel blissful after a yoga class and your stress diminishes…this was a huge benefit to me while I was undergoing several rounds of fertility drugs. When the stress response balance turns off, stress hormone levels fall and the body quickly recovers and returns to balance.
6. Increases IVF success rates
In yoga, you control chronic stress by eliciting a relaxation response in your body, counteracting harmful stress hormones. Studies show that yoga and meditation can significantly increase conception rates in women. It's important to keep in mind living a fertile life is more than just getting ready for pregnancy or parenthood. It’s about taking a good hard look at your life and making a conscious decision to let go of things that no longer serve you purpose so that you can focus on those areas that really need more attention.