If you’re pregnant, or looking to conceive, and you are into yoga, questions might rise: Will you need to sacrifice your yoga routine? Is it safe to do any yoga while you’re pregnant?
Actually, you can still do a bit of yoga exercising while with child. Although yoga is a form of stress and anxiety relief (which is useful, when you’re trying to conceive), it’s unclear whether or not it can help with fertility. So, whether you’re with or without child, if yoga is something of interest, stick around!
Like yoga (which involves doing certain postures, followed by sequences and breathing exercises, and later ending with either lying down or meditating), fertility yoga has specific poses and meditation. However, fertility yoga is slightly different, because it takes into account the reproductive and hormonal systems in the female body. As a restorative series, fertility-based yoga helps women get connected with their emotional and physical selves through rhythmic breathing and focusing on specific systems where conception is involved. Many of the poses are designed to bring about energy in the hips and the perineal floor, which houses the reproductive organs, while other poses will pay attention to the hormones. But rest assured, at the end of the session, you can meditate as much as you like.
Will It Harm Your Chances of Conceiving?
Now, you may be wondering if it’s worth it doing yoga while you’re with child. But there’s one thing to consider: Human fertility is different for everyone, because it all depends on factors like nutrition, sexual behavior, instinct, culture, endocrinology, timing, way of life, and emotions. And like human fertility, hormones are different in everyone.
Women have hormonal cycles, which include one that determine whether or not they can achieve pregnancy (approximately twenty-eight days long, along with a fertile period of five days per cycle). But this type of hormonal cycle can be tricky, since it changes from time to time.
So, does yoga harm your chances of conceiving? No, but proceed with caution.
The best recommendation is to talk to a certified yoga instructor about this; only they will tell you if it’s safe or not for you to do yoga while pregnant (or wanting to be).
Also, you’ll need to keep in mind where you’ll be yoga exercising. You’ll need a clear space to meditate and stretch – a place free from unnecessary clutter. Having a clear space should give you a clear mind when meditating.
And above all, take it easy. Don’t ever stretch your body’s limits, because yoga injuries are common, pregnant or not. It’s not worth throwing out your back, or suffering from complications, when you’re pregnant. Also, keep in mind that as you do yoga, it’ll release relaxing hormones that should be reserved for during baby delivery, giving you a false sense of flexibility.
In short, there’s no evidence of yoga being harmful to your pregnancy; but still, proceed with caution. In the end, the amount of yoga that you do is up to you.
Can Yoga Boost Your Fertility?
As of today, there is still no direct link between practicing yoga and fertility. However, yoga helps to lower stress and anxiety; and decrease in stress should be welcoming to pregnancy, right? Well, yes and no.
Yoga may be known to relieve stress; but putting physical stress on your body may negatively impact your ability to get pregnant. According to a recent study, women that are more prone to stress (especially the presence of stress in their saliva) had a less chance of getting pregnant during ovulation, versus those who are less prone to stress. Also, studies have shown that women with higher levels of cortisol in their bodies had an increased risk of miscarriage. In short, yoga may be good to relieve stress, but may or may not boost your fertility, depending on how prone you are to stress.
Fortunately, in today’s fertility clinics, yoga is encouraged during treatment. 87 studies have confirmed that a regular yoga practice may improve outcomes for fertility patients; thus, “fertility yoga” was born!
What Are the Benefits?
Generally, exercise is supposed to be beneficial for the entire body; and it should definitely be beneficial for you, if you’re getting ready for baby. Yoga is a low-impact alternative to regular exercise for pregnant women. In addition, this type of exercise is supposed to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications (but only when done correctly).
There are also other benefits – for example, yoga helps direct blood to the reproductive organs, allowing that part of the body is function correctly.
Any exercise that promotes breathing, mindfulness, and visual meditation is beneficial, pregnant or not. Yoga even acts as a calming antidote for any woman wishing to conceive. The less stressed a woman is, a better chance that she’ll be able to conceive.
And since yoga is also supposed to be a stress-reliever for pregnant women, it should already have benefits, right? While there’s no direct cause-and-effect link between doing yoga and getting pregnant at the moment, it may or may not help you get pregnant (depending on the circumstance, because again, everyone is different).
Best Yoga Poses?
- Fish Pose (matsyasana) – This pose can help balance and strengthen your hormones, and redirects blood flow through the thyroid and parathyroid glands. It even helps you reconnect with your feminine energy.
- Frog Pose (adho mukha mandukasana) – This pose is one of the most popular poses done in fertility yoga. It helps you to open your hips and reproductive area, for vibrant energy to flow through. It also gives you that much-needed grounding and centering. To do this, all you have to do is stay in this position for a while, and inhale and exhale through your nose, while focusing on a spot in between your thumbs. Many yoga practitioners call this a “fertility tune-up.”
- Bridge Pose (setu bandha sarvangasana) – This pose promotes the flow of chi (and improves it) through the reproductive area. This is especially essential, because it alleviates stress, makes you calm, and helps stimulate the thyroid gland and reproductive area.
- Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana) – When done correctly, you can move and breathe at your own pace. All you have to do is sit on your mat with your legs extended in front of you (elevating your buttocks on a blanket, if needed), bend the right leg and place the heel in your perineum, have your chest directly facing your right foot, and extend your spine to fold forward over the leg with a straight back. You can even do this with a yoga strap around your left foot, if desired. After five breaths, switch legs, and then do the same thing on the left side.
- Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) – To do this, extend the legs along the mat. Next, reach your arms over head. Then, fold yourself forward, keeping the back straight. Fold forward as much as possible, while extending the spine. Then hold for five breaths.
Yoga is supposed to teach everyone to appreciate themselves, and women are no exception to this. And like any woman in the world, pregnant women can also be a work-in-progress. As long as you have the know-how, and practice in your own pace and skillset, there’s not much harm in practicing yoga while you’re pregnant, or looking to conceive. Either way, you’ll benefit from the wonders that yoga can do for you.
Author’s Bio: Ashley Halsey writes for Luckyassignments.com. As a professional writer, she has contributed to many projects throughout the country. In her spare time, she likes to travel, read, attend business training courses, and spend time with her two children.
Darbandi et. al. “Yoga Can Improve Assisted Reproduction Technology Outcomes in Couples With Infertility. Alternative therapies in health and medicine”, 2017 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320958174_Yoga_Can_Improve_Assisted_Reproduction_Technology_Outcomes_in_Couples_With_Infertility
Domar, Ali, PhD et. al. “An internet-based mind/body intervention to mitigate distress in women experiencing infertility: A randomized pilot trial”, March 2020 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0229379
Kochhar K. P, Oberaoi A.K, Hazra s, Lal P.R. (2017) The Role of Traditional Diet & Yoga for Fertility: A Blend and Balance of Traditional Knowledge and Modern Medicine. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Volume 16. New Delhi http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/42278/1/IJTK%2016%28Suppl%29%2069-74.pdf