The road to parenthood is rarely a straight path. It’s often filled with detours, unexpected pit-stops, and speed-bumps galore. That’s why it’s so important to have access to tools if needed, in order to smooth your path.
When I started working with women who were trying to conceive, it became clear that nutrition, while important to reproductive health, wouldn’t be enough to support my clients to the degree they deserve. If I wanted to make the type of impact I was determined to make, I needed to learn more about mind-body practices. Yoga quickly became my go-to practice to help my clients navigate infertility.
Yoga is one of the most powerful forms of self-care and movement for fertility support. The benefits are multifaceted, fortifying our reproductive health physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
If you’re curious about how yoga can help you on your road to baby, I encourage you to read the seven ways yoga can enhance your fertility below.
If I wanted to make the type of impact I was determined to make, I needed to learn more about mind-body practices. Yoga quickly became my go-to practice.
Provides Relief From Stress
This is no secret. Trying to conceive can be stressful. And stress, while not inherently bad, in excess and unchecked, negatively impacts every aspect of our health, including our reproductive health. Unmanaged stress can contribute to insulin resistance (not good for your fertility, especially if you have PCOS), lead to anovulation (lack of ovulation), and lower your libido. Yoga gives you an outlet for all your stressors.
Increases Blood Circulation to Your Uterus and Ovaries
In many traditional medicine systems, increasing blood flow to the pelvis is heralded as one of the key goals of treatment for infertility. Considering that blood carries nutrients and carries waste away from our organs, this makes sense. This is because our reproductive organs are situated in an area of our body that in our sedentary culture rarely gets enough movement. Anything that can improve blood circulation is important when TTC. All those different yoga poses you learn, do just that.
Builds and Supports Community
The physical and mental health benefits of community don’t get nearly enough attention. Strong social ties are one of the pillars of good health. Yoga classes offer an opportunity to breathe and move with people who have similar interests and possibly similar goals, which is quite powerful!
Yoga is Low Impact
While exercise is important when trying to conceive, not all forms of exercise are ideal. Vigorous activity is not the best idea when trying to get pregnant. But most forms of yoga are far more gentle than conventional cardio and weightlifting. But don’t let its gentleness fool you. It’s still incredibly effective
Improves Endocrine Function
Our hormones, to a great degree, rule our reproductive health. Whatever we do to support our hormonal health, will ultimately increase our chances of conceiving. And fortunately, we have a fair amount of research indicating yoga positively impacts our hormones, making it ideal for several women’s health concerns.
Chronic inflammation has been implicated in the development of many chronic diseases and likely negatively influences fertility. Yoga addresses the underlying causes (like unmanaged stress, hormone dysregulation, and insomnia) of chronic inflammation, and dampens inflammation. This protects our organs from damage, including our uterus and ovaries.
Increases Body Awareness
Many of the women I’ve spoken to have shared that fertility has made them feel disconnected from their bodies. That disconnect can make it pretty difficult to hear the subtle cues your body is giving you about what it needs to thrive. Fortunately, yoga is amazing at improving enteroception, making it easier to hone in on the signals our bodies send to influence our decisions.
Bonus: It Feels GOOD!
Can we please talk about doing things just for the joy of it? I’m convinced it might be the most important reason to move your body. Pleasure matters and yoga feels good. Do it because you enjoy it.
Now before you run out and join a yoga class, I strongly recommend seeking out a fertility yoga class. You not only get the opportunity to move your body, but you’ll also meet other people on the same journey you’re on.
Remember, strenuous exercise is not recommended when TTC, so heated and vigorous forms of yoga are not ideal. If you can’t find a fertility yoga class near you, there are a growing number of online fertility yoga options. Prefer in-person classes? Yin yoga, gentle, slow flow, and restorative classes can be great options too.
Kendra Tolbert, MS, RDN, RYT is a women’s health registered dietitian, yoga teacher, and aromatherapist. She helps women and couples balance their hormones and optimize their chances of conceiving with simple, natural, and enjoyable health-promoting practices. She completed her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Public Health and her dietetic internship at Teachers College, Columbia University. Recently, she was awarded the Emerging Professional Award from the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group. Her areas of expertise include PCOS, fertility, and integrative and functional nutrition.