At-Home Yoga Poses That Boost Fertility
When struggling with infertility, you may sometimes feel as though you’ve exhausted all of your options. The stress of trying multiple different treatments to no avail can weigh on your conscience — and this inner turmoil can make it even more difficult to conceive.
Enter the practice of infertility yoga. Women who have had multiple miscarriages, been struggling for years to get pregnant or even considered giving up on their fertility journey are finding solace in the ancient practice of yoga, which relieves stress, offers social support and may even help them get pregnant at last.
Science supports the role of yoga in supporting conception. In one study, 63 percent of women who practiced yoga got pregnant, while only 43 percent of the control group did. Yoga can also help patients with infertility manage their complex emotions surrounding the process of fertility treatments. Another study found a significant reduction in anxiety among 26 patients who were enrolled in an in-person or online yoga training.
But how (and why) does yoga for fertility work? And how can you practice it at home to reap the benefits, when yoga studios are currently closed due to COVID-19? This blog post explores the reasoning behind fertility yoga and will instruct you on simple poses you can try at home to support your fertility journey.
What Is Fertility Yoga and How Does It Work?
Fertility yoga is a specialized type of yoga class designed especially for women struggling with infertility. The classes emphasize the importance of breathwork and relaxation to relieve stress associated with infertility, as well as poses that open the muscles around the hips and pelvis to promote a healthy pregnancy.
In the practice of yoga, there are several chakras, or centers of the body, associated with fertility. The second chakra, in particular, is vital to fertility; located just below the navel, this center can be stimulated through poses that open the pelvis and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.
There are many reasons why yoga may be a successful component of treatment for infertility. While it cannot replace traditional treatments like IUI or IVF, it can benefit women by relieving the psychological stress associated with an infertility diagnosis — which, for many women, has been shown to be as distressing as a diagnosis of cancer, HIV or heart disease.
Yoga encourages you to release your need for control, something that can be especially difficult for women with infertility. Many women report that once they let go of their need to control the process, they were finally able to get pregnant after years of struggle. One study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital found that 55 percent of fertility patients were able to get pregnant after participating in a 10-week yoga and meditation program, compared with just 20 percent of the control group.
While much of the evidence surrounding yoga for fertility is anecdotal, this makes sense, considering that many of the causes of infertility cannot be explained by science, either. As many as 20 percent of cases of infertility are considered “idiopathic” or unable to be explained by doctors. This is one of the many reasons why increasing numbers of women are turning to yoga to aid in their journey toward becoming pregnant.
Yoga Poses That Boost Fertility
The ancient practice of yoga was developed in Northern India over 5,000 years ago, yet still remains in use today. You can use various poses from the practice of yoga to boost your fertility, all without leaving the comfort of your home! Below, we share some of the best yoga poses for amplifying fertility, relieving stress and opening the hips and pelvis. The best part? All you need is a mat or soft surface to practice on, and you will be well on your way to becoming more fertile in no time.
This pose works by helping you to soften the muscles of the vaginal wall while increasing blood flow to the pelvis. Lay on your back with your bottom pressed against the wall and your legs lifted, resting against the wall. Your body should form a 90-degree angle between your torso and your legs. Stay in this pose for 10-15 breaths to promote fertility and relax the pelvic floor.
Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)
This pose relaxes the muscles of the inner thighs and groin, which can help relieve stress as well as the discomfort of a medicated fertility cycle associated with IVF treatment. Lay on your back with a pillow or bolster beneath your neck, if desired. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together, allowing them to gently fall open toward the floor in a butterfly position. Your palms should rest on the mat beside you, facing upward. Take 10-15 deep, slow breaths to help you relax.
An active pose, Warrior II is one of the most popular yoga poses for promoting fertility because of its opening and strengthening effects on the hips and sides. While standing, take a step forward and flex the foot. Your front foot should point forward and your back foot should face the side. Bend your front knee and open your body to the side, extending your arms out long. Look at the front hand for five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
Cobra pose elongates and stretches the upper and lower back to increase blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. (However, it should be avoided if pregnancy is suspected.) Lay face-down on the floor and draw your hands toward your shoulders, palms flat on the mat. Spread your legs slightly. Push into your hands and arch your back upwards as far back as is comfortable. Contract the navel, but not your glutes. Hold for five breaths.
Bridge pose exerts gentle pressure on the thyroid glands, promoting healthy thyroid function (which is important to a healthy pregnancy). The pose also strengthens and stabilizes the sacrum to support the surrounding muscles and decrease inflammation in the body. To perform bridge pose, lay with your feet on the floor, bending your knees and resting your feet beneath them. As you inhale, put weight into your heels and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Hold your hands beneath your back if possible to deepen the stretch. Breathe five times, then gently release.
Infertility presents many challenges, not least of all stress and anxiety. Incorporating some of these yoga poses into your routine can help you relieve the psychological pressure of fertility treatment to promote conception and a healthy pregnancy. Try these poses at home and let us know how they go!
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation. Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.
Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).