Ready, Set, Stress
Now that you've read the books, articles and magazines, lost the weight and you are into a great fitness routine, you want to believe you are primed and ready to conceive. But you find yourself not only excited at the prospect of having a baby, but anxious that you may not conceive at all. Worries around conception, motherhood, finances and myriad other things begin to crowd your mind and you end up being physically fit and mentally stressed - all in preparation for pregnancy. And to top it all off, your well-intentioned advisors are telling you to, "just relax and it will happen."
Relax with Yoga
How does a woman step off the panic-go-round and "just relax?" There are, of course, many possible answers to that question. One that is finding more and more place in today's world of women who want to be mothers is yoga. Dr. Alice Domar, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, headed a study which took women who had been trying to conceive for a year or more and put them into a 10-week program for the mind and body. The program included yoga, meditation, diet and exercise information as well as information geared to help redirect negative thought patterns. When compared to a control group where only 20 percent of the women conceived during that year, Dr. Domar's program garnered 55 percent successful conceptions. Dr. Domar says that yoga is an invaluable asset in her program and the tool she would least like to lose.
As a gentler form of exercise, Dr. Domar sees a fertility and conception benefit from yoga as follows: "I believe that vigorous exercise may reduce fertility in some women. We can't predict whose fertility is exercise sensitive. Yoga is something they can do that will reduce stress without impacting their fertility. For really chronic exercisers, my clinical impression is that at least half that stop gets pregnant. Yoga is the best tool I have for these women."
Get Strength and Quiet At the Same Time
Yoga has the potential to impact a woman's general reproductive health since it both tones and strengthens the support muscles of the reproductive organs and enables better circulation and respiration as the spinal alignment improves. The better breathing techniques offered as a part of yoga help to strengthen the body against the effects of toxins we are exposed to as well.
Best of all, yoga can be an invaluable tool in dealing with stress, which often accompanies the angst of conception. Stress and the emotional impact of stress generate chemicals within the body which can weaken the immune system and make a less hospitable environment for a baby. Because yoga uses breathing and relaxation techniques which combine with flushing out physical toxins, it provides a positive antidote to negative emotions and stressors.
Two In One
Yoga can provide some much needed calm and peace for the woman preparing to conceive. It is as important to strengthen and prepare the mind for pregnancy as it is the body, and with yoga you can do both at one time.