Breathe In, Breathe Out

Just Relax...

Getting pregnant can be very stressful, especially if you have been trying for a long time with no success. One of the pieces of information you may frequently receive during this time is: "Relax and it will happen." This would be about the time you want to administer bodily harm to a person. However, there is truth in the suggestion. The problem seems to be in the actual experience of relaxing as opposed to knowing it is helpful.

Yoga For Fertility And Conception?

Yoga, an ancient method of relaxation, has been proven to have a great impact upon fertility and conception. Dr. Alice Domar, researcher at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study that took infertile women (those who were unable to conceive after at least one year) and put some of them into a 10-week mind/body program. This program included several aspects, including yoga. Meditation, nutrition and exercise and practice addressing negative thought patterns were all used together with yoga. Within the next year, 55 percent of the participants in the program conceived as compared to 20 percent in the control group.

Dr. Domar uses this approach to help women at the Boston IVF center, the largest infertility treatment center in the US. She says that yoga is the tool she would least like to part with and that it is an invaluable asset to her in her treatment programs.

Sometimes More Is Not Better

She goes on to say, "I believe that vigorous exercise may reduce fertility in some women. We can't predict whose fertility is exercise sensitive. Yoga is something they can do that will reduce stress without impacting their fertility. For really chronic exercisers, my clinical impression is that at least half the women that stop get pregnant. Yoga is the best tool I have for these women."

Yoga For ART And General Health

Although Dr. Domar uses the yoga program to help women in assisted reproduction treatments, yoga can also have a positive impact on the general reproductive health of women who are not considered infertile. Yoga not only tones and strengthens the muscles that support the reproductive organs; it also helps to align the spine, allowing for better blood circulation. Yoga also has a primary component of breathing exercises and for women who are taking fertility drugs, breathing can be an excellent way to deal with the toxic effects of those drugs.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to conception is stress-either the stress of not being able to conceive, or the stress of staying pregnant once conception takes place. Julie Cade Bon, certified yoga teacher and owner of Partnership for Pregnancy, a company that offers help to couples with fertility issues, says, "Women experiencing infertility are often stress and pain-filled, saddened and angry. These emotions generate chemicals in the body that weaken immunity and make for a less ‘hospitable' environment for a new life. Yoga, because of its use of relaxing breathing techniques, combined with the flushing out of physical toxins, provides an antidote to the negative physical impacts of stress, anger and depression."

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