If you’re feeling a little unsure about which types of exercise you can do while going through IVF, you’re not alone. Many women worry about doing something wrong during fertility treatment, but we’re here to put your mind at ease.
Yoga is a gentle, nurturing practice that will help you connect with your body. It’s a great option during IVF, especially if you can find a class that’s geared toward fertility. (But don’t worry if you can’t… we’re going to walk you through which poses are safe and which ones aren’t!)
Practicing gentle yoga will not harm your chances of getting pregnant during IVF treatment. What it will do is help you manage your stress throughout your fertility journey, and it may even increase your chances of conceiving.
Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of yoga while going through IVF and how to adjust your practice for optimal success.
The Benefits of Yoga During IVF (In vitro fertilization)
Yoga improves your chances of conceiving with IVF.
Research shows that women who practice yoga regularly throughout their fertility treatment have higher success rates with IVF. According to the journal of Fertility and Sterility, yoga can also improve pregnancy rates in couples using assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Although the research is ongoing, scientists believe that increased blood flow to the reproductive organs and pelvis during yoga practice, in combination with the stress-reducing effect, promotes successful fertilization and implantation of the eggs.
Yoga is a safe way to stay active.
Exercise is important when you’re trying to conceive because it improves oxygenation and blood flow. It also helps you manage stress, which can be at an all-time high during fertility treatment. It’s also a great way to maintain a healthy weight without overworking your body.
Too much exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, can decrease your chances of conceiving and carrying a successful pregnancy. But yoga is one of the safest and most gentle ways to stay active during fertility treatment and throughout your pregnancy, as long as you know which types of poses to adapt or avoid.
Yoga Reduces Stress.
Most experts agree that stress has a negative impact on fertility, from contributing to hormonal imbalances and interfering with menstrual cycles to triggering insomnia and other common health issues. Finding healthy ways to manage stress should be a priority when you’re trying to conceive.
Yoga is an amazing tool for managing stress, especially with consistent practice. And the benefits go far beyond the time you spend in class. The deep breathing and meditation exercises taught in class are valuable tools you can use to help you de-stress almost anywhere, anytime.
Yoga can help you cope with the ups and downs of IVF.
While some women do conceive on the first round of IVF treatment, most have to go through multiple cycles to achieve success. Even though you probably went into treatment knowing that it was likely going to take some time, getting your hopes up over and over again can be devastating.
This cycle of ups and downs only contributes to your existing stress and can even lead to depression and self-esteem issues. Studies show that women who practice yoga throughout their IVF treatment weather these ups and downs better and experience less stress and anxiety as they approach each new cycle.
Yoga improves overall health.
You probably already know that yoga is amazing for improving your flexibility, muscle tone, and stamina. But did you know that the improved blood flow and oxygenation that comes with regular yoga practice also supports the immune system?
Obviously, a strong immune system protects you from getting sick, but the benefits for fertility go even further than that. Strengthening the immune system also reduces inflammation throughout your body, which could reduce the symptoms of fertility roadblocks like endometriosis and PCOS, especially when combined with herbs that help with fertility.
Safety Tips for Practicing Yoga While Going Through IVF
While you shouldn’t be doing HIIT or running marathons during IVF treatment, yoga is perfectly safe as long as you keep a few key things in mind.
- Pay attention to your body. If a pose doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
- Avoid full inversions.
- Avoid twists or any pose that works your abdominal muscles.
- Stick to restorative forms of yoga. Avoid any practice that raises your body temperature or causes you to break a sweat.
Two Simple, Safe, and Effective Yoga Poses to Try Throughout Your Fertility Journey
Legs Up on the Wall:
For this partial inversion, you’ll lay on the floor with your legs resting on the wall. This posture is fantastic for promoting blood flow to the uterus and encouraging relaxation. This gentle inversion also gives your feet a rest and encourages proper alignment of the spine. You can also modify this pose to open up your hips by bringing your feet together and allowing your knees to fall open.
You’re on all fours for this pose with your toes tucked under. Your hands should be under your shoulders as you alternate the curve of your spine up and down. This is another amazing pose for encouraging blood flow to the pelvic region and uterus. It releases tension in the pelvis and spine, too. Just be sure to keep your abdominal muscles relaxed as you perform the pose.
Wrapping Things Up
Although restorative and gentle yoga is generally considered safe during IVF, you should discuss your plans with your doctor before getting started. Consider signing up for fertility, restorative, or prenatal yoga class where you can receive instruction to ensure that you’re performing the poses correctly. Just be sure to let your instructor know that you’re going through IVF and keep the above safety tips in mind.
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