How Yoga Can Help Reduce The Stress of Infertility

Can Yoga Help Reduce The Stress of Infertility?

Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana
Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana. Steve Miller Photos/Photodisc/Getty Images

Trying unsuccessfully to conceive a baby is very stressful. Though there is a lot more to fertility treatments than just learning to relax, stress can have a negative effect on the body, so it is only natural that many infertility treatment programs are beginning to recommend that patients do specialized yoga classes. In addition to relieving the stress of trying to conceive, these classes create a community of women going through similar experiences.

Why Yoga?

Although no studies have been done on whether yoga directly impacts fertility, yoga's effect on stress is well-documented. Yoga focuses on bringing the mind to the present moment at all times, so that worries over the likelihood of a successful conception and the cost of infertility treatments, to name two obvious stressors, can be temporarily put aside. Yoga also encourages women to feel more connected to their own bodies at a time when they are, by necessity, giving up some control.

What Kind of Yoga?

A class geared directly toward infertility patients is the best option. Those undergoing treatment are often advised to avoid vigorous exercise, so a specialized class will be appropriately gentle. It will also provide a ready-made support system. Many women being treated for infertility may not feel comfortable discussing the process with their friends and families as often as they would like to, especially if they have been trying to conceive for a long time.

Finding a community through yoga can be an excellent source of support during this difficult time.

Which Poses?

Yoga is often recommended as a treatment for any number of physical ailments, but it is usually the cumulative effect of a regular yoga practice that offers the most benefits. No single pose is going to provide the silver bullet.

That said, it is often recommended that you lie on your back with the hips raised after intercourse to increase the chances of conception. A gentle inversion like legs up the wall can achieve this effect although just putting a few pillows under your hips probably will work just as well. Since fertility drugs cause the ovaries to swell, twists can be painful and possibly dangerous, so be sure to talk to your care provider about which kinds of movements should be avoided if you plan to do yoga on our own during your treatment.

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