By Julie Wilson
Fertility: not a topic that comes up in general conversation, yet one that is on the minds of many couples. It’s a funny thing really, procreation, the continuation of our species is treated almost like a taboo subject – we’re afraid to tell friends, family and employers that we’re trying to have a baby. And it’s understandable why.
With one in three women experiencing at least one miscarriage in their lifetime, and one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage most couples aren’t too keen to announce to the world that they’re trying, or that they are pregnant until they’ve made it through that difficult first trimester. And if you’re not one of the couples who are lucky enough to conceive or make it to full term…Well let’s just say that I can speak from experience that we often don’t tell people, including family, about our loss and heartache.
We try to remain strong in public and carry on; maybe taking a couple of sick days off work, not wanting to share something so private, maybe worrying about how our career will be affected if our boss knows we’re trying to have children, deflecting the ‘So when are you having kids?’ questions from well-meaning people and wondering when we can give them answer they want to hear and we want to tell them.
Trying to have a baby can become a very stressful time for many couples, and that in itself can be a cause for infertility; a vicious cycle for sure.
How yoga can help
Most people who have practiced yoga, or read anything about it will know that it can help to reduce stress, stretch the body out and make you feel good, both mentally and physically. At this very basic level alone you can already see some benefit, but there’s much more yoga can offer to yoga for women trying to conceive.
Fertility yoga incorporates specialised postures, movements and breathing techniques that support the natural conception process by:
- Reducing the stress response
- Creating space in the spine and around other nerves and nerve bundles to allow the free flow of nerve impulses
- Improving circulation to organs associated with fertility – obviously the reproductive organs but also other supporting organs and structures
- Balancing the neuro-endocrine system
- Improving pelvic health – that’s the bones, joints, ligaments and tendons as well as reproductive and digestive organs
- Supporting ovarian function and womb ecology
While there are a growing number of studies that show some of the more common benefits of yoga such as stress reduction and improved circulation, scientific and medical proof of the benefits of yoga for fertility is hard to come by. There is no hard evidence and there are certainly no guarantees that doing a course of fertility yoga will result in conception and a full-term pregnancy.
But one of the other wonderful things I’ve found yoga helps with, is finding acceptance for the way things are. It teaches us to be more present and be grateful for what we have now, not to focus on what we had in the past or what we want but don’t have. Babies included.
It’s true that you can get many of these benefits from any yoga class, but a specialised fertility class has the benefit of:
- Providing a supportive environment
- Specifically focussing on poses that support the reproductive process
- Avoiding poses that cause compression or strain – they are not conducive to reproduction
- Being gentle enough to continue with during the first trimester of pregnancy – this is really important as it removes the fear of not being sure if something is ‘safe’ or not
In the world of fertility treatment where everyone is doing things to you, fertility yoga is something you can do for yourself. It is empowering. You will find your own strength, cultivate calmness and support your body, mind and energy.
Whether you’ve had difficulty with fertility in the past or whether you’re simply preparing your body to be as healthy as possible, I believe fertility yoga should be a part of your pre-conception planning.
Julie Wilson is the woman behind Yoga Mama.Â After being faced with a number of health challenges and life changing events in her mid 30’s, she felt like she’d lost touch with who she was and what she wanted in life. Not knowing exactly how it would help, she embarked on her first yoga teacher training and found some healthy perspective along with many tools to help heal her body, mind and spirit. Now with further teacher trainings under her belt, she has a clear purpose: to help women with their reproductive health and fertility. As a naturopath and medical herbalist helping people was already her path, now with yoga she can connect with more people and teach them how to help themselves through movement, breath, gratitude and love.