The effects of meditation on general health and wellbeing are well documented in many articles. Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, are also extremely useful tools when dealing with fertility issues.
“Stress has a damaging effect on our body,” says Dr Venkat at Harley Street Fertility Clinic. “It has an negative effect on egg and sperm quality, and on pregnancy rates.”
Meditation is one of the tools widely used to release hormones that help during the fertility journey, pregnancy and birth. One of these hormones is cortisol, the hormone “guilty” for creating stress. By meditating, the level of cortisol can be reduced.
Dr Venkat adds “Meditation also decreases the damage to your cells by releasing another hormone, DHEA, known to prolong the life of cells, including eggs.” It means that, over the longer term, meditation and general well-being have a knock-on effect on the quality of eggs and sperm, and thereby the chances of conception.
Meditation help releases the happiness (or love) hormone oxytocin which helps with birth, bonding with the baby and milk production. Oxytocin, along with serotonin, increase your good mood.
Research studies on the effects of meditation on fertility
There are many studies on the effects of meditation and mindfulness on fertility/infertility. A research paper published in 2012 (see the full article here) studied the effects of a yoga-focused prenatal program. The study showed significant improvement of stress, anxiety, labour self-confidence and labour pain for women who were pregnant following IVF.
A more recent study, published in 2016 (read abstract here), reports on a development of a Partnership and Coping Enhancement Programme (PCEP) on couples suffering from infertility. The program consisted of two sections—partnership and coping— to be delivered to infertile couples on the day of embryo transfer, consisting of meditation, sharing experiences etc. The programme was designed to “facilitate mutual sharing and support in infertile couples, and to improve their individual and dyadic coping strategies while undergoing IVF treatment, especially in the period when they are waiting for the results of a pregnancy test and after the disclosure of a negative treatment outcome.”
A 2017 review article showed that yoga can help couples overcome infertility and increase the Assisted Reproductive Transfer success rate by improving the physiological and psychological states of both men and women. Among the benefits of yoga, the article cites pain reduction, decrease of depression, anxiety, and stress, reduce the rate of assisted vaginal delivery, and improve fetal outcomes. The review focuses on both males and females.
A study published in Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders (JEPPD) in 2016 suggests that a 12-week program may improve the general well-being of infertile women awaiting IVF. The programme included sessions of mindfulness meditation, relaxation, guided imagery and others.
Holistic support at HSFC
“That’s why at Harley Street Fertility Clinic we offer holistic support in-house, including acupuncture, NLP, mindfulness and reflexology, that can help our patients in their journey.”
To find our more about our holistic support, please click here.
The findings in this article were based on the following articles:
(PDF) Yoga Can Improve Assisted Reproduction Technology Outcomes in Couples With Infertility. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320958174_Yoga_Can_Improve_Assisted_Reproduction_Technology_Outcomes_in_Couples_With_Infertility [accessed Apr 15 2020].
“The Partnership and Coping Enhancement Programme for couples undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment: the development of a complex intervention in China”, October 2016, Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 34(1), DOI: 10.1007/s10815-016-0817-y