Yoga for Pregnancy

yoga
photo by Ana Flavia

Huge needles or yoga mat? Mind-altering drugs or relaxation?

Learning to appreciate a deeper connection with your body or hating it for failing you?

While not a magic cure, yoga for pregnancy may be a good addition to your fertility toolbox.

Originating in India, yoga has become very popular in North America and uses different postures in order to help to improve overall muscle tone and strength. It can also be beneficial for conceiving, helping physically by aiding in hormonal harmony, and also by infusing energy and vitality to the reproductive area. In addition, it benefits us spiritually by bringing an emotional steadiness into our lives, which in turn helps to prepare for conception, explains Monica Morrell, PhD, a holistic consultant and preconception yoga teacher in Boston.

Benefits–Connecting With Your Body

Actress Brenda Strong was a yoga instructor who used yoga to help her conceive when she was trying for her second child. The benefits, she said, were clear. "With infertility you get to hate your body. You begin to feel angry and betrayed that your body isn't functioning," she says. "Yoga gives you a sense of pleasure. You're opening your body and stretching and making it feel good—and you start to notice you have a little more control over your relaxation response when you're waiting for egg retrieval for IVF or whatever it is. You learn to calm yourself and that gives you empowerment."

Besides, a yoga class is a positive place for women to regroup, she adds. "Community is crucial because so many women [experiencing infertility] feel alone," she says. "The women couldn't talk to the people they would normally talk to…it becomes depressing and you can't speak about your feelings. Studies show that people who are isolated actually become more depressed," explains Strong in an interview with Fertility Today Magazine.

Benefits–Relaxation

Chronic stress has been shown to adversely affect fertility, and yoga is a well-recognized stress-reducer. Clinical studies have indicated positive effects of yoga for infertile women. In 2000, Harvard Medical School researcher Alice Domar, Ph.D., published the results of a study in Fertility and Sterility (Vol. 73, No. 4) that showed women who participated in her program, which included relaxation and yoga, were almost three times more likely to get pregnant than women who didn't.

Benefits–Better Overall Health

"Yoga tones and strengthens the muscles that support reproductive organs and improves spinal alignment, enabling better circulation and improved capacity and quality of respiration," says Julie Cade Bon, certified yoga teacher and owner of Partnership for Pregnancy, a company that offers retreats for couples dealing with infertility. She also believes women who are taking infertility drugs can improve their breathing with yoga so they can help the body fight off the toxic effects of those drugs.

To Begin

Try a class, or read a book on yoga to get started on basic poses. Monia Morrell and Brenda Strong bother offer DVD's on yoga and fertility.

Morrell suggests practicing the Frog Pose as a beginning step for yoga for pregnancy:

  • Come onto your knees.
  • Straddle your knees out as wide as possible.
  • Turn your feet out so that they are at a 90-degree angle (like a frog).
  • Come down onto your forearms. Draw your shoulders forward so that they are directly above your elbows.
  • Place your hands and forearms firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart, releasing your hips and back.
  • Gently gaze at a spot between your thumbs.

"This quiet, yet powerful, pose helps to release muscles and tissues found deep within the reproductive area. It is a restorative, invigorating pose held for 15 to 25 deep breaths. It helps heal and release, clearing the way for our bodies to conceive." --Monica Morell

More Advanced Poses

Yoga Journal Magazine recommends yoga poses like these to aid in conception:

  • Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Supported Bridge Pose, done with the sacrum on a bolster and the knees bent)
  • Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose) help to gently stimulate apana energy, as well as increase micro-circulation in the reproductive tract.
  • Salamba Baddha Konasana (Supported Bound Angle Pose)
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose) to pay special attention to the belly and pelvic region.

Dive Deeper


 
disclaimer

The information provided on ConceivingConcepts.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of ConceivingConcepts.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. See our Legal Statement for more details.

Fertility Clinics Directory

Find a Fertility Clinic

If you or a loved one is suffering from infertility and needs help conceiving then we are here to offer help in any way we can. We have over 450 Fertility Clinics listed on our Directory. Click here to search for a Fertility Clinic that is right for you.

babymaker