Can yoga help with infertility?
The pitter patter of little feet is a sound that some of us desire, but not all of us can hear without some sort of intervention – medical or non-medical. Worldwide, infertility affects approximately 8-10% of couples and according to the Ministry of Health Singapore (MOH)1, 1 in 7 Singaporean couples experience infertility.
What exactly counts as infertility? Health professionals agree that if a couple does not conceive after 1 year2 of trying, they are considered infertile.
Infertility and its link to stress
Being unable to conceive can cause high levels of stress, and it’s often thought that stress plays a part in infertility. However, infertility is a medical condition caused by medical and biological factors.
In females, infertility is caused by:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Hypothalamus/Pituitary Gland Problems
- Premature Ovarian Failure
- Damaged fallopian tubes
- Uterine fibroids
In males, infertility is caused by:
- Poor sperm quality and low sperm production
- Problems with sexual function, such as erectile dysfunction
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Chronic health problems e.g. diabetes, hypertension
So where does stress come in?
The one way that stress can indirectly affect fertility is through the primary stress hormone, also known as cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol have been shown to adversely affect ovulation, which is key to fertility and getting pregnant3.
So if you’re actively trying to conceive, apart from getting checked for the aforementioned medical conditions, it will be helpful to lower your cortisol levels – not just for the sake of fertility but for your overall health too.
Reducing stress through yoga and exercise
One of the scientifically proven ways we can lower our stress levels is by exercising. Exercise together with a healthy diet has long been touted as the holy grail of life. In fact, many medical conditions can be easily avoided if we have a healthy lifestyle (genetics aside).
An exercise that has been gaining much traction among men and women is yoga. That is indeed a stretch in the right direction, as one of the key benefits of yoga is stress relief.
Over the years, studies4 have shown the impact yoga has on reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga has also been shown to:
- Increase your chances of conception by stimulating blood flow and stimulating the reproductive system
- Support and regulate the endocrine system (responsible for hormone production)
- Calm the mind
Yoga therapy has also been found to improve infertility in both men and women by:
- Enhancing the overall balance (both figuratively and literally) of the whole body
- improving reproductive functions by reducing stress and balancing the neurohormonal profile
- Altering brain waves and decreasing cortisol levels
Yoga itself cannot improve sperm or egg quality; but it can be an important part of a fertility-promoting lifestyle. People who practice yoga have lower stress, better control over their blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and they respond better to stress5.
Is it dangerous to practice fertility yoga while trying to conceive?
If you are practicing fertility yoga under the proper guidance of a qualified instructor, there is no danger. But like all exercises, always be cautious and not put yourself beyond your body’s limits.
If you’re considering fertility yoga or wellness practice as part of preconception planning, our sister centre, BeNatural has a slew of options.
BeNatural combines yoga, ayurvedic nutrition and relaxation to help you conceive. Some clinically tested approaches they offer include:
- Fertility coaching
- Fertility relaxation program
- Fertility yoga classes
- Dosha diagnosis
- Fertility yoga for doshas
- Fertility ayurveda
The best part is everything is conducted online at your own pace.
If you’re struggling with infertility, let us help. At ACRM, we’ve been helping couples successfully conceive for over 27 years. Our comprehensive, integrated fertility approach has helped thousands of couples overcome infertility and embrace parenthood.
Contact us today.
- Ministry of Health Singapore. (2013). Assessment and Management of Infertility at Primary Healthcare Level. Singapore: Ministry of Health Singapore.
- Gretchen Garbe Collins, B. V. (2015). The impact of lifestyle modifications, diet, and vitamin supplementation on natural fertility. Fertility Research and Practice.
- Osnat Bloch Damti, O. S. (2008). Stress and distress in infertility among women. Harefuah, 256-260.
- Masoumeh Shohani, G. B. (2018). The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women. International Journal of Preventive Medicine.
- Sengupta, P. (2012). Health Impacts of Yoga and Pranayama: A State-of-the-Art Review. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 444-458.