By Erin McCollough 

There's so much conflicting information out there on this topic...

And to compound that, too many doctors seem to be on a different page with that as well. Well, I have worked. And run my program at one of the world's largest IVF clinics for over a decade. And so I want to share my wisdom and what I know, along with a whole bunch of research to help you feel more confident in your body and utilize.

Why Move During Your Fertility Treatments

Movement is a way to heal, to generate resilience and just help you feel better when you take some medications and going through the procedures.

So let's talk about a safe way to move. I think one thing that all we can all agree on is that exercise is beneficial, right?

Physically we're moving blood or we're releasing or letting go of stress mentally. It's a way of processing, transforming difficult emotions.

What Kind Of Movements Should You Practice?

Now how to do that safely. If we take gentle movement as a conservative approach, then we're talking about things like walking. Yoga Tai Chi Qigong practices like this that are more holistic in nature. I'm going to focus on the yoga part because that's my expertise and what I know.

Let's talk about how, what is yoga for fertility and how we can incorporate that into our fertility treatments. Yoga for fertility is a way of practicing yoga that supports what we're doing in terms of medical procedures and supports our body. So every yoga pose has a certain impact in our body physiologically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, spiritually.

And when we take yoga poses and string them together in a certain sequence, we can have a big impact. In a very specific way in our whole body. So when I'm talking body, I'm talking not just about our physical body, but our emotional body, your mental body, our overall wellbeing.

When we are, when we have our period, it's an opportunity to go in, to connect to our inner wisdom too. It's a letting go so we can practice our yoga in a way to support. Those intrinsic opportunities during that time during our follicular phase, right after our period, up until observation, we have an opportunity.

It's a more energized time. We can do some cleansing, some detoxing work to do deep twists and, um, more rigorous practices. So anyone who likes the more rigorous practice or likes the running or like, you'll feel more comfortable in this time and then after ovulation or when we're in fertility treatments and there's any chance that we could be pregnant, we have this opportunity to then nourish our ovaries and our uterus in a way to bring blood flow and encourage implantation and create this really nourishing environment for implantation to take.

So it's practicing yoga in a deliberate way. It's honoring this special time in our lives and helping us unlock the gifts that are available to us in this time. So specifically now to get into more studies, when we practice yoga for fertility, we have a whole opportunity to increase our pregnancy rates.

So I want to introduce you to Ali Domar. She is a world lady leader, Harvard researcher, who has studied the impact of including mind, body practices, such as yoga and meditation into fertility treatments for women. And what she has showed is that 55% of infertility patients who participated in her mind body program for a 10 week period.

Which included yoga and meditation conceived compared to 20% in the control group when tested over eight year, that means that women increase their chances of pregnancy by 175% or we're three times as likely to get pregnant. That's the research. So. When we practice yoga for fertility, we also have an impact on our body on a cellular level.

So not all exercise or movement is created equally. So when we're lifting weights, when we're running, when we're doing marathons, things like that, we're pumping blood to those big muscle groups to activate our muscles. And a way from our reproductive organs, which is counter to where we want to be directing our blood flow to nourish our reproductive cells.

Why Yoga For Fertility?

So a practice like yoga, actually directs because it's a holistic practice. It directs you blood flow to our ovaries, to the uterus, you know, to our pelvic area. And when we have increased blood flow, we have increased oxygen, increased nutrients, increased hormones. And decreased inflammation in our whole body.

So we are able to impact our bodies, our eggs, our sperm at a cellular level in our body. It makes a big difference. 90 days is the timeframe or any lifestyle choices can make an impact in our, the cycle of our farm or X. So we want to give it some time. And lastly, over and over, yoga has been shown to decrease stress, decrease anxiety, and decrease depression, anxiety, and depression.

Unfortunately, almost go hand in hand when we get to a place in our fertility journey where we're choosing to use assisted reproductive technology like IUI or IVF, yoga can be used as a tool to help support resilience. With there's another Harvard researcher named Herbert Benson, who actually started the mind body clinic at Harvard where Ali Domar worked and he showed through studies, something called the relaxation response.

And yoga is kind of hand in hand, goes along with the relaxation response, because it elicits the relaxation response and what the relaxation response is is essentially like a domino effect that happens in our body. When we start to shift our nervous system through practices like yoga, breathing meditation into the parasympathetic part of our nervous system

It even shifts how our brain, how the brain waves are functioning and our body to clear a path for hormone and any our immune systems to return to normal.

Also we know that when we have increased stress hormones like cortisol and Nora or Afrin, it depletes our reproductive hormones. So it dramatically impacts our fertility. So practices like yoga, help nourish our reproductive system and our fertility that way. And I do want to read another study.

This one was published in the fertility and sterility magazine in 2005 experts at the university of California at San Diego reported that stress may play a role in the success of infertility treatments, including IVF after administrating a series of questionnaires designed to measure a patient's stress levels.

The researchers found that women who scored higher, indicating the highest levels of stress had ovulated 20% fewer eggs compared with women who are less stressed, moreover of those who are able to produce eggs, those who were most stressed or 20% less like likely to achieve fertilization success.

A simple exercise to a whole way to shift what's happening in our body, physiologically, mentally, emotionally. And then the last part of what I know in terms of how yoga for fertility helps is  all the things that are more intangible, like the yoga community. Women who are dedicated to the same practices and heading in the same way is so, so powerful.

That's, what's possible. I really know that women who, after fertility treatments look back at what they've gone through and know they're the best version of themselves for their families and their babies.

You’ve got this!

Hi, I’m Erin and I’m the Founder of Fertile Hope Yoga. For more than a decade, I have led the in-person yoga for fertility program at the CNY Fertility Center. I am the Co-Creator of The Fertile Secret book and have helped thousands of women reach out and hold their baby after they had been told they could never get pregnant.

~ Erin McCollough
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