The prospect or process of infertility can be stressful, as can the idea of embarking on any assisted reproductive procedures such as IVF, no matter if you’re doing it for the first time, the second, third or fourth. For that reason it’s important that you find ways to reduce the stress and anxiety you may be feeling.
Studies have shown that “stress and anxiety levels remain elevated across first and repeated cycles of fertility treatment. Women with lower stress and anxiety levels on the day prior to oocyte retrieval had a higher pregnancy rate.” (Turner et al..2013)
Stress during fertility treatment is thought to be multidimensional; in addition to any psychological stress related to the diagnosis of infertility, there are potential stresses related to the medical procedures, the awaiting of a positive outcome, and the physiological effects of gonadotropin stimulation. (Turner et al..2013)
Breathing techniques play an important part in relaxation on the autonomic nervous system and the management of stress. They are also some of the core principals practiced in Fertility Yoga.
Yoga Therapy and Stress
Scientists have studied the positive impact yoga therapy has on various health conditions. “Practicing yoga can improve better cardiovascular health, strengthen the nervous and immune system and has a positive effect on the reproductive system” (Trimarch).
Whilst yoga cannot treat medical infertility problems such as blocked tubes, it can help with infertility issues caused by stress and the associated stress with conditions such as cysts and endometriosis. Chronic psychological stress can alter the body’s ability to regulate hormones, this in turn may cause problems with the reproductive system for sperm quality, ovulation, egg fertilisation and possible other complications that may affect the reproductive system.
A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility stated that “women with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol and alpha-amylase (which circulates an enzyme around a body under stress) in their saliva had more difficulty conceiving than those women of lower levels of stress in the study.
The results of the study stated their fertility rates were up to 12 per cent lower each cycle (source Louis). In fact, levels of the stress hormone epinephrine (known as adrenaline) have been found to be higher in women experiencing unexplained infertility, and those with elevated levels of epinephrine may constrict blood flow to the uterus” (Trimarch)
A study found “fertility patients who practice yoga specifically tailored to reduce stress may increase their fertility by as much as 35 per cent” (CBS news).”
According to Trimach’s research in 2000, 55% of participants of a yoga-oriented, mind-body-based fertility program conceived during the first year in the program!
If you’re currently going through IVF or suffering from infertility have a taster of my Fertility Yoga DVD which helped me reduce stress during my own fertility journey here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfY0NSmts1w&feature=youtu.be