Can yoga overcome infertility and help you conceive?

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Having a child in a family is a gift. While many families have children, some struggle in their journey to beget one. Many who are unable to bear a child the natural way often turn to medical science, using a popular process called 'In Vitro Fertilisation'(IVF) that increases their chances of pregnancy.

According to studies, Yoga can affect one's fertility rate. Not only will Yoga release stress, which can lead to poor fertility rate, some experts also believe that certain Asanas (postures) can promote pregnancy chances due to increased blood flow to the pelvis that stimulates hormone-producing glands, which also releases muscle tension.

Specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey (USA) Rahul Sachdev, M.D., combining the benefits of traditional Yoga with innovative medical intervention can relieve the stress associated with infertility and thus increase the probability of conception. He said, "Women who are infertile, especially in the long term, are extremely stressed out... one study has shown that the stress levels of an infertile woman are actually similar to those of someone just told they have HIV."

The report published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology (Vol. 14, Suppl., 45-52) strongly supports Dr. Sachdev's claims. They study reported that infertile women's anxiety and depression levels equaled those of women with conditions such as cancer, HIV and chronic pain. Dr. Sachdev's research on whether releasing stress can actually help improve fertility rate echoed a strong "YES". Incorporating Yoga and meditation in his research, he found that couples had a 50 percent fertility rate within one year of finishing the programme. 

Other studies also demonstrated strong support that Yoga can help with infertility. Harvard Medical School published a study in Fertility and Sterility (Vol. 73, No. 4), showing that women are 3 times more likely to conceive by practising Yoga and other relaxation exercises than women who did not. An astounding 55% of the participants who were taught Yoga, meditation, negative emotional releasing techniques, imagery exercises and nutrition in the group conceived within one year.

Alice Domar, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School encourages infertile women to practise Yoga to develop a conscious love-connection between themselves and their bodies that they may be frustrated with for having failed them in conceiving a child. She also recommends infertile couples to practise Yoga together because, although both are physically together, the exercise allows them to develop a non-sexual bond since sex, according to her, is often linked with failure when it becomes emotionally charged.

For those who have opted for the IVF procedure, Yoga can also play a major role in increasing one's success. Researchers at the Fertility Centres of Illinois discovered that couples who practise Yoga tend to be more determined and can overcome the stress related to the strenuous IVF procedure. As relaxation is the key factor in improving the likelihood of conceiving, relaxing the muscles, lower abdomen and the mind can greatly aid the IVF procedure.

Fertility centres around the world are now widely adopting Yoga practice. As Dr. Jennifer Hirschfeld-Cytron had said, "we have shown a decrease in anxiety of patients that utilised the Yoga programme... In the U.S., cost remains a top reason couples stop infertility treatment, but close behind remains emotional distress... (and) Yoga can help to alleviate this stress and allow couples to stay in treatment."






Copyright © 2016 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources 
Holistic Living Annex (APRIL 2016)



This article was published in The Jakarta Post. (Click the link to be re-directed to TJP)
Photograph: Combining the benefits of traditional yoga with innovative medical intervention could relieve stress associated with infertility.(Shutterstock/-)

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