Part of a comprehensive fertility plan includes more than just treatments: it’s about your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. This includes lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise. Approaching your fertility from a holistic point of view helps you consider all of the different factors potentially affecting your chances of success.
At Dominion Fertility, we know everyone has different needs. We individualize patient care to best suit the needs of every person that walks into our offices. We see many patients who are so focused on getting pregnant, they forget how important their overall health is to the process. We’ve come up with a list of 4 activities that factor into your chances of becoming pregnant while increasing your overall quality of life.
Can Acupuncture Help Me Get Pregnant?
Implementing acupuncture into your self-care routine can help reduce stress and reduce pain.
Additionally, several studies have shown that this ancient Chinese tradition may have small positive effects on fertility and live birth rates. A 2018 study from the US National Library of Medicine found:
Further reading on the relationship between acupuncture and fertility can be found in this Fertility IQ blog.
Despite studies suggesting small improvements in IVF pregnancy rates with acupuncture, it is unclear whether or not it is conclusively beneficial. It can be stated however, that acupuncture may decrease your stress levels, thereby indirectly impacting the success of your IVF treatments.
Is it Safe to Use Chinese Herbs and Medicine During my Fertility Treatments?
Traditional Chinese herbal medicine is often touted as a complementary method to improve fertility. As a clinic, our current policy is against the use of herbal medicines, unless the content and potency of these supplements is clearly understood by you and your fertility doctor. Herb-drug interactions and clotting are serious medical concerns. Research from the Singapore Medical Journal demonstrate the adverse side effects of herbal supplements when taken with aspirin.
It is important to have candid discussions with your fertility doctor about any supplements – herbal or otherwise – that you are taking before beginning any fertility or medical treatments.
Can Yoga Increase My Fertility?
Over the past several years, yoga has become a more familiar method of exercise among most Americans. Yoga has a variety of health benefits, but did you know some of them could apply to your fertility journey?
Benefits of yoga include:
- Overall strength – Yoga helps stretch your muscles and increases your range of motion. Yoga is not an aerobic exercise, but studies highlighted in this yoga benefits article have shown it has similar positive benefits to cardiovascular exercises. You can vary its intensity based on the type of movement you are practicing, making it an ideal workout for varying levels of intensity.
- Flexibility – With regular practice, yoga has significant positive effects on your flexibility.
- Improved sleep quality – Yoga promotes relaxation and releases tension throughout the body. Psychology Today showed that yoga can even help those suffering from chronic insomnia. A study of 410 cancer survivors found that yoga was linked to improved sleep quality, reduced feelings of fatigue, reduced frequency of use of sleep medication, and an improved sense of quality of life.
- Decreased stress – From a study done with the American Society for Reproductive Health, women were randomly put into two groups. Group A attended three months of yoga sessions, lasting thirty minutes per session. Group B did not do any yoga during this three month period. At the end of the three months, each group was asked to complete the Hamilton Depression and Hamilton Anxiety rating scale. Then, both Group A and Group B underwent frozen embryo transfer. Group A showed lower rates of depression and anxiety, and a 63.46% fertility rate. Group B had a 43.99% fertility rate. This indicates that yoga can effectively decrease rates of stress and anxiety, potentially leading to a higher rate of pregnancy.
How Can Meditation Improve Physical Health?
According to the EOC Institute, meditation can lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol stress hormones, and improve happiness and self-acceptance. High levels of cortisol can have many negative effects on the body, even interrupting ovulation. That’s why it is important to keep stress, and its associated hormones, at a low level.
Here are some tips for implementing a fertility meditation practice into your daily routine:
- Make meditation a daily habit – Train your mind daily to withstand the constant interference of random noises, thoughts, ideas, and desires. This mental discipline will make it helpful to avoid stress in your day-to-day.
- Find a quiet place – Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Find a quiet space in your home, and make sure you turn off background noise. Some find it helpful to play a soothing meditation playlist to accompany their practice.
- Set aside a specific time – It is popular to meditate in the morning, right after waking up and before your daily cup of coffee or tea. Before you allow your daily task list to flood your mind, set aside time to be quiet and get centered. To help you stay on track, download our printable calendar below.
Get comfortable – Find a position that is comfortable enough to be still for a few minutes. Focus on breathing deeply, so your body knows to relax. Visualize releasing tension from your muscles, specifically your neck and shoulders.
What Effect Does Exercise Have on Getting Pregnant?
Studies on physical activity and how it relates to prenatal health have changed significantly over the past fifty years. We highly recommend that women begin, or continue, exercising during infertility evaluation and treatments, especially those undergoing IVF treatment. Mild to moderate exercise is highly beneficial to infertility patients as healthy amounts of exercise decrease stress and clearly improve your sense of well-being.
Recent data based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicates that only 15% of pregnant women meet the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Studies show that women who exercise before and during their pregnancy have better obstetrical outcomes and healthier babies than women who are sedentary. Even 15 minutes of exercise each day can help reduce stress and improve your physical health.
See our guide for simple ways to implement healthy habits:
Begin With Balance
Your fertility journey is all about balance. Creating a healthy mental and emotional environment is equally important to your physical health. Stress wreaks havoc on the body, making it more difficult to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Acupuncture, yoga, and meditation can be vital techniques for maintaining a healthy mental and emotional state.
At Dominion Fertility, we want to make sure our patients feel cared and provided for. If you are struggling with excess stress during your fertility treatment, have a hard time finding time to exercise, or just aren’t sure where to begin, reach out to someone close to you and ask for help. If you desire more interpersonal support, ask us about our various support groups on Facebook. Know that you are not alone in your journey.