Infertility is not a rare situation these days and approximately one in seven couples may find it difficult to conceive. There are many possible causes and in 25-30% of cases, the doctors are not able to pinpoint the problem. However, one thing that all doctors do agree about is that if you live a healthy lifestyle, you’ll help your body to work correctly and improve your chances of conceiving.
What exactly is a healthy lifestyle?
This includes eating unprocessed, natural foods, getting plenty of sleep and taking a moderate amount of exercise regularly. And most of all, reducing your levels of day-to-day stress.
How stress affects fertility
In the medical profession, it is generally agreed that having a high level of stress in your life can interfere with the body’s hormone levels and delay you getting pregnant. This is a very ancient mechanism that’s there to prevent women becoming pregnant during prolonged periods of stress – when there could be danger, food shortages or other poor living conditions.
Stress creates surges of adrenaline and cortisol in the body and this makes the brain focus all of its capacity on survival. This means that the hormones needed to become pregnant are not produced in the normal quantities, so your menstrual cycle and egg production can be disrupted.
Unfortunately, under the added stress of not becoming pregnant, many completely healthy women become even more anxious and a vicious cycle kicks in. When you’re anxious, you won’t feel in the mood for sex and if you don’t find an effective way to reduce your anxiety, your body will continue suppressing the pregnancy hormones.
So, now you know how stress can affect you when you’re trying to become pregnant, what can you do to reduce your stress hormones and switch the hormonal focus to making a baby?
Gentle exercise has always been a medically approved way to lower stress levels and help the body to relax and work at optimum efficiency. When you’re trying to conceive, the loud pumping music and punishing exercises of an aerobic dance class may not be the best way to calm your mind and prepare your body for pregnancy.
Yoga is an excellent type of exercise for anyone trying for a baby, because its aim is to produce a serene mind and a healthy body through special slow exercises. Doctors often recommend yoga to patients suffering from stress and the symptoms it causes like headaches, muscle pain and high blood pressure. Yoga is a calming activity that teaches you how to breathe correctly and be more relaxed in all areas of your life. The gentle stretching and relaxation techniques are perfect for releasing the tension that can build up in your muscles causing stress pain in the head, neck and shoulders.
Beneficial yoga poses
If you want to improve your fertility, choose a gentle beginner’s class and explain to the instructor that you want to prepare your mind and body for pregnancy. Here are some of the exercises that are recommended by yoga experts as a way to improve fertility:
- Lying Vishnu/Seshnag Pose – This pose pumps blood to the pelvic area, which benefits the whole reproductive and urogenital system. It is also used to combat depression, anxiety and stress.
- Sage Matsyendra’s Lotus Pose – This benefits your body with a strong squeeze and release action on the abdomen. The lower abdomen is exercised and this helps the many organs and glands in this part of your body.
- Full butterfly Pose – This is one of the most healing of all yoga exercises which helps the urogenital system, improves your posture and it’s a mood enhancing, stress-buster, too!
- Cat-stretch Pose – Often also used as a therapy treatment for menstrual pain because it reduces the cramps that cause it.
- Noose Pose – This posture works the pelvic region very efficiently and also strengthens the spine to avoid spinal problems. In addition, it makes your body metabolism more efficient and improves your breathing technique, which also helps relaxation.
- Animal Relaxation Pose – This soothes and tones up the spinal nerves and helps with flexibility in the hip and pelvic areas. It is also used as a therapeutic treatment for problems connected to the urogenital system. It is extremely relaxing and like all yoga poses, will help you sleep well so you have more energy during the day.
Preparing for your baby
When you’re trying to get pregnant, instead of spending your time worrying about why it’s taking so long to conceive, try to switch your focus to preparing your mind and body for a healthy pregnancy. You’ll feel so much better if you know you’re doing something positive and practical to give your baby the best possible conditions to develop inside your stress-free body! A regular yoga exercise class, under the guidance of a professional yoga teacher, helps your body to absorb nutrition from the food you eat and helps to clear out your arteries to improve your blood circulation and heart function. This means you’ll be in tip-top condition to undertake any fertility treatment you may be having.
Feel more confident
Yoga boosts the sex hormones and those related to your self-confidence, too, so you’ll start to feel more positive about yourself, which is very important to your overall well-being.
And yoga is good for both women and men preparing to become parents.
Points to remember:
- Consult your GP before starting a new exercise regimen
- Find a local yoga class with a fully qualified yoga teacher
- Tell your teacher about any health problems you may have
- Wait for 2 – 4 hours after a meal before practising
- Always do warm-up exercises before yoga
- Beginners can use small cushions or stools to help them
Yoga helps you stop the stress hormones that reduce fertility and gets your body working properly, so it’s completely ready to get pregnant. So, enjoy the feeling of having a calm mind and a relaxed, flexible and toned body that regular yoga practice will bring.