To manage stress, you need to understand about your body’s response to stress. Cannon was the first to describe the “fight or flight” response of the body to stress. When there is stress, the body tends to react in a manner to undo the stress.
How Yoga Can Help in Infertility Treatment to Get Relief of Stress?
What Is Yoga for Pregnancy?
The word Yoga means the harmony between mind and body
Yoga for pregnancy is an old discipline of exercises and mental control from India. It is both spiritual and physical. Yoga for pregnancy uses breathing techniques, exercise and meditation. The yogic exercises are isometric along with control of breathing (There is no change in the length of the muscles during exercise, but the contraction pressure is increased by holding the body in certain postures). The yoga for pregnancy helps to reduce stress and tension in mind and body. IVF is a stressful experience, so any procedure which helps to alleviate the stress during IVF procedure can only be good for the patient.
Chronic or persistent stress occurs when undergoing infertility treatment. As long as the stress response remains “turned on,” you will be at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, suppressed immunity, and increased risk of depression and anxiety. Chronic stress can affect every system of the body, and it can worsen existing conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and chronic pain. Chronic stress can cause suppression of the reproductive system resulting in amenorrhea and failure to ovulate in women, impotency in men, and loss of libido or both.
So how can one cope with all the stress during infertility treatment?
It is proven that the best way to manage stress is to learn a variety of stress reduction techniques. These techniques help that to bring the nervous system back into balance by essentially restoring the body and mind back to a calm, relaxed state.
Practicing relaxation methods during the IVF treatment will allow you to relief your body to the side effects of stress. Managing the stress will give you the added strength to handle the physical and emotional demands of infertility treatment.
How Yoga Can Help in IVF Treatment
There are many different stress management techniques (e.g., diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and yoga) and you will need to do some experimentation to determine what works best for you. Diaphragmatic breathing, pranayama and meditation are quite helpful in restoring normal physiological and psychological state.
What is Diaphragmatic Breathing?
Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing, is breathing that is done by contracting the diaphragm, a muscle which separated the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity.
Air gets into the lungs and the chest and belly expands during this kind of breathing. It induces a state of relaxation. According to the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center, “Diaphragmatic breathing allows normal breathing while maximizing the amount of oxygen that enters the bloodstream. It is one way of interrupting the ‘Fight or Flight’ response and triggering the body’s normal relaxation response.
Hatha Yoga, tai chi and meditation traditions recognize a clear distinction between diaphragmatic breathing and abdominal breathing or belly breathing. The importance of diaphragmatic breathing has been well recognized.
It is another method which helps to reduce tension and increase immunity. Prāṇāyāma is a Sanskrit word which is composed from two words: prana meaning life force and ayama (to control the prana). It is a yogic discipline with its originated in ancient India.
IVF Success Rate is high in People Who Regularly Do Meditation.
Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual tries to focus the mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.
Meditation can be used for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception and wellbeing.
Egg Retrieval: Be sure to practice meditation or pranayam on the morning of your egg retrieval. Doing this in the hospital bed while you are waiting is a good way to go.
YOGA BEFORE INJECTIONS / OVARIAN STIMULATION BEGIN
Yoga for pregnancy not only reduces stress, but also increases blood circulation. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine on IVF outcome at their 2017 scientific expo looked at the effects of Yoga on IVF. One author concluded that, “Stress negatively affects reproductive outcomes in IVF cycles and this study suggests YOGA can be an adjuvant to improve the pregnancy rates in couples undergoing IVF treatment.”
Another author stated that, “Overall, these findings show a positive benefit of yoga for pregnancy program for anxiety reduction in patients with prior failed IVF cycles”.
YOGA DURING INJECTIONS / OVARIAN STIMULATION & AFTER EMBRYO TRANSFER
Once your injections begin, the body needs energy to develop extra follicles in your ovaries and to grow your endometrial lining. It is important to increase the intensity of your Yoga practice to moderate or light to ensure your body gets the nourishment it needs during this time.
Other important things to consider during your stimulations:
- Practice gentle forms of Yoga for pregnancy which maintain a neutral body temperature.
- Avoid twisting poses – your ovaries need all the blood flow they can get; twisting poses potentially restrict this blood flow.
- Avoid inversion poses – it is wise to keep your uterus & ovaries below your heart, allowing gravity to help deliver your nutrient rich blood.
- Keep your abdominal muscles soft – contracting your abdominal muscles or “down bearing” will reduce the space in your abdomen and push blood away from your stimulated organs of reproduction. Your goal should be to maintain strength & flexibility, reduce stress & anxiety, and develop your breath control.
Embryo Transfer: If you are lucky enough to reach this point, practice pranayama or meditation on the morning of transfer to keep your nerves. Realize, this will be an emotional time. Avoid any physical yoga in the days following, but continue meditation/relaxation practice.
Six weeks: Pregnant! Congratulations. During weeks 6-12, are sure to find a wonderful Pregnancy Yoga class with an experienced teacher to continue.
Six weeks: Not Pregnant. It’s devastating. But you have done everything you can. Be kind to yourself, and accept the stress the IVF cycle has put on your body. Slowly return to normal practice of yoga.
Yoga for pregnancy can be a wonderful way to support the body and mind during IVF. Be sure to seek the advice of your counselor before taking up new forms of exercise.
YOGA AFTER A POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST
You can continue your Yoga practice once your pregnancy test is positive. Find an experienced Yoga teacher to prepare you for prenatal exercises without resorting to prone positions, or stretching exercises which can possibly do more harm than good.
How Yoga Can Help in Infertility Treatment
Yoga is an awesome method of preparing the body for pregnancy. It helps reduce stress, hormones and overall can help feel well in body, mind and spirit.
“The demands of infertility treatment can overwhelm even the most resilient individual and leave the person feeling depressed and anxious.”
“It is well documented that emotional distress levels rise as the intensity and duration of infertility treatment increases.”
“To manage stress more effectively, you need to understand your body’s stress response.”
“When we perceive a threat, the “fight or flight” response kicks in to ensure our survival.”
“Chronic or persistent stress happens when the stressors are uncompromising, as they can be while getting into an infertility treatment.”
“Chronic stress can damage almost every system of the body, and it can worsen conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and chronic pain.”
“So how do we cope with all the added stress during infertility treatment?”
“Research has shown that the best way to manage stress is to learn a variety of stress reduction techniques.”
“These techniques activate the “relaxation response” that serves to bring the nervous system back into balance by slowing down the heart rate and essentially restoring the body and mind”
“Managing stress properly will give you the strength to handle the physical and emotional demands of infertility treatment.”