Tag Archives: stress

Yoga for fertility

I thought I would provide a few tips on how yoga can help in this fertility party a lot of us have going on, or anyone interested in yoga in general. I wrote an article on this for another website recently, so will summarise it here.

It all boils down to your body and mind needing to be in the best shape possible. Whether you want to increase or maintain your health and wellbeing for this time of your life, yoga can be a great aid and companion.

According to doctors, one of the greatest obstacles to fertility is stress, which has been shown to reduce the probability of conception.  Ever heard those stories about couples who had tried for years to conceive and after “giving up” or adopting, have fallen pregnant? I’ve heard those stories too. What yoga offers above all is relaxation, and research shows that participating in a “mind-body” type of program – which is exactly what yoga is – can positively affect fertility.

The classical definition of yoga is that it “stills the fluctuations of the mind”* – when our minds are busy worrying about what might have been or what could be in the future, we lose touch with the present moment, with the body, the breath and the self. Yoga is very effective in pulling you back to the now.

For women struggling to fall pregnant, the stress can be overwhelming. Yoga also teaches that suffering is caused by attachment to outcomes, and this is never more true than when trying unsuccessfully to fall pregnant, or through the slog of IVF treatment.

Yoga for fertility programs generally concentrate on the stress-relieving and relaxing effects of a practice, so if you can find a yoga studio that offers “restorative” yoga, get there quick-sticks. Restorative yoga usually involve using props such as bolsters, blankets, belts and chairs to support some well-known poses so that the body and mind are free to completely relax.

But renowned yoga teacher Geeta Iyengar, daughter of BKS Iyengar, also advocates a number of poses that have beneficial effects on the reproductive system.

Her recommendations include poses that stimulate the thyroid such as


(shoulderstand). Dysfunction of the thyroid gland can upset the balance of the body’s reproductive hormones.

Sarvangasana, sometimes called the “queen of all asanas” (headstand is the king) is believed to directly affect the thyroid, due to the firm chin lock (also known as jalandhara bandha) which increases blood supply. Geeta Iyenagr also says the pose also develops “the feminine qualities of patience and emotional stability”. Anyone need patience, much?

Other poses with similar, chin-locking effects and which are suitable for beginners are setu bandha (bridge pose) and janu sirsasana (head-to-knee pose).

Poses that bring increased circulation to the pelvic region and reproductive organs are also recommended. Try baddha konasana(bound angle pose) and

Supported Supta Baddha Konasana

Image by tarnalberry via Flickr

supta baddha konasana for similar benefits but with the added bonus of being supremely relaxing.

Supported supta virasana (reclining hero pose) also opens the pelvic region and ensures circulation. I find this one almost impossible though as it’s too strong on my lower back – but everyone’s different.

While I can’t guarantee you will fall pregnant by following any of this, it can certainly have a positive impact on your mental and physical health.

If you’ve never done yoga before, I recommend you head along to your local yoga studio to get expert guidance from an experienced teacher, rather than trying these by yourself.

*Yogas chitta vrtti nirodah

PS. If you do want to know more, just leave me a comment. I can “talk” you through a few poses – supta baddha konasana is easy to do at home and really relaxing.

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Filed under IVF, yoga, yoga poses

Kinda stressy

I’m finding this cycle really difficult, and I’m not sure why.  It’s a whole lot easier that a stimulated cycle – minimal drugs, no surgery, and after all, it’s my third run at it so I should be getting better at the whole thing.

But I feel stressed. Like there should be more to it.  I only have to inject 50 units of Gonal-f (no Lucrin this cycle). Last stim cycle I had to inject 600 units, so 50 feels like nothing. Surely it’s not enough to do anything? But of course it is – I think it’s supposed to help the uterine lining to thicken up to make it nice n comfy for its visitor.

I think the reality that this is my third and final go is sinking in and I’m thinking more and more of failure. Not consciously so much as feeling. I don’t want to think negatively – I do feel it will work this time. But I’m nervous somehow. I just feel a bit overwhelmed.

And I scratched my new car on day 2. DAY TWO! And today, day 3 of my new car, I left the lights on. When I got back to my new car, six or so hours, two cups of tea, Tim Tams, cafe lunch, bookshop browsing, and two hours sighing over Ryan and George in The Ides of March later, the battery was flat.  Even though the car beeps when i open the door when the lights are on. I don’t know where my mind was when I got out of the car – stressed somewhere. Luckily I happened to park right next door to a mechanic’s so he jump started my car. Then I stressed all the way home that I’d hurt the car.

And it’s been raining all week, literally all week. Which has added to my stress and is really, really depressing.

And I’m thinking why on earth did I sign up for ICLW because I’m really busy this week and next and have had hardly any time to sit and read all those blogs and commenting six times and that’s stressing me out as well. I didn’t realise these few weeks would be so busy and I’ve just made them busier. I’m doing a course for work this coming Monday and next Monday, which means I will have to go into work on the weekends to get some work done, and I’ve decided to try and flog old stock from a business I started a few years ago so I’ve booked the next four Sundays at the markets. Which is really hard work, but I really need to sell some of that stock to pay for the car and replenish my depleted bank account.

And a guy I went out with six months ago and disappeared without a trace texted me last night. WTF.

And I’ve hardly had time to go to yoga, which is really stressing me oout. Breathe. Breathe deeply.


Filed under IVF

The bitch is back

I really thought I was pregnant.

When my period* didn’t come as scheduled on Thursday, I couldn’t quite believe it. I’ve never been late in my life. Through the day I checked. No sign!

Friday – still no sign! Oh my God, I’m pregnant!

I had a blood test first thing Friday morning.

All through the day my excitement mounted. No sign of bleeding. I won’t believe it till I get the call from the clinic, I thought. But I did believe it. I believed it so much that I bought a dress and a loose flowing cardigan that I thought could take me from now to at least the end of the year and hide any bump. But I was sensible – they are normal clothes that look great now anyway, just in case I was being overly optimistic.

I had a hair appointment, followed by an osteo appointment to try and sort out my still-stuffed digestive system.

I was feeling so happy that I nearly blurted out my news to the hairdresser, who I barely know. I only go there because it’s cheap and I can’t afford my good hairdresser right now.

So when the clinic called, I was confused by the nurse’s tone of voice. I knew it wasn’t good news, but I there was no sign of my period, so – I must be pregnant right?

No. I’m not.

There was a level of hcG in my blood that indicated that the embryos had tried to implant. But they hadn’t. And I guess that level was still there, which was why there was no sign of my period.

What could I do, I was sitting in the hairdresser’s chair with hair colour slapped over my scalp. I couldn’t run to the loo and howl. I just had to sit there, tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t even speak when the hairdresser asked if everything was ok. I wanted to say, “I’ve just had some bad news, that’s all” but I couldn’t even get that out. I had to sit there for another 45 minutes getting my hair washed and blow dried before I could get the fuck out of there.

Thank god I had the osteo appointment afterwards –  Jamie is the loveliest man and a great osteo, and really smart and he’s into yoga and alternative healing, as well as being clever enough to be applying to med school. He gave me a big, big hug and then treated me. Face down on the table and with my eyes closed I really felt like the table was moving back and forth. I had to keep opening my eyes and looking down to the floor to make sure I was stationary. Jamie said I was in shock and after the treatment gave me some Bach remedy for shock and put me in a separate room so I could do what I needed to do.

I really thought it would work. I was so confident and positive. I meditated, visualised. Did yoga and ate well. I felt – or thought I felt – calm about the whole thing. Not stressed or clinging or desperate. I really thought it would work.

And I’m sure this is nothing like what a miscarriage feels like, but I feel a bit that way nonetheless, because really thought it would work, and I really thought I was pregnant.

What next?

Right now I’m really sad and disappointed. I think I’ll try again, I feel I owe it to myself. When I first put this plan in motion I thought I’d give it three goes, but that was when I thought I would get enough embryos to freeze for three goes. I certainly didn’t plan on paying for three attempts. But once is not enough, as they say in the classics (James Bond anyway. I was in a Bond film once – true story). I’ll go and see the doctor sometime this week, and work out what Plan B, Take 2 is.

I went for a swim this morning (at Bronte, that’s the pic), then to yoga. I was reminded  again how powerful yoga is to work emotions out of your body, because if you don’t work them out, they get stuck, and so does your body and so does your mind. Sometimes they get so stuck they make you sick. And I was reminded again that the discipline – of whatever it is – getting up early to go for a swim when I would have rather stayed in bed – makes you do things that ultimately make you feel better than short term pleasures.

PS. I’m also really sad I may not have the chance to choose the same donor again. I was a bit in love with the idea of that donor’s baby. A lot in love.

PPS. My period came yesterday morning. At least it seems to have sorted out my digestive issues. The bitch.

* Note that I just can’t use the abbreviations and euphemisms so common on blogs and forums such as these. It’s not Auntie Flow, or AF, I’ve never called it such a school girl thing in my life (mind you, I’m quite happy to call it “the bitch” on this occasion). And this is not a BFN – big fat negative – I’m just not pregnant. I’m an editor and writer, and as an editor I’m a bit anal about plain English, saying what you mean, not obscuring, spelling things out. Euphemisms give me the shits anyway. Rant over.


Filed under ART, IVF, sperm donor


Stressful afternoon. STRESSFUL!

I want a glass of wine. I really want wine.

The thing with this thing is, it’s not something you can flake on. It’s not a wishy-washy, turn-up-sometime-any-time, laid-back, whatevs kind of thing. Kind of un-Australian really. You can’t be late for an appointment. You can’t be late for an injection. If they say be here for blood tests at 8.36am, you are there are 8.36am.

My appointment today was for 3.30pm. I’ve made that appointment in easy time before but now the stakes are high. Timing is everything. So at 2.48, when I am still in traffic in the Eastern Suburbs – 20 minutes after leaving my home in the — Eastern Suburbs (sorry non-Sydney people) — FUCK, I try not to say fuck. I finally get to the M5 motorway – that fucking road will give me an aneurysm. 5kms in a tunnel, at 20kms an hour, surrounded by big trucks. Then more gridlock. I cry.

And this is after last night, when I had a bit of a panic attack about whether I had shut the car door properly – I got out of bed, went downstairs and checked. All fine. I’ not going to make that mistake again!

I was panicking because I thought they had said the doctor had to leave early, so I really had to be there on time. In the end I think I was 15-20 minutes late, and then the doctor didn’t even bother doing the scan (not sure why); I just had blood tests to check my hormones levels. I wonder what other kind of stressed out  hormones they will find in that blood, I was pretty wired.  The blood tests are to determine that the hormones that naturally occur at this point are partially blocked – what they call “down-regulated”.

ANYWAY. Another little esky full of goodies – Gonal-f, 450 units at the same time as the Lucrin. This is the follicle stimulating hormone  which will stimulate the growth of my eggs. I think this is the fun one. The one where your emotions go haywire. If I thought the Lucrin was pulling  my strings, I think the Gonal-f may be the real puppetmaster. I’ll let you know – I start it on Sunday.

And I seriously could not have timed this at a worse time work-wise. It is the busiest 3 weeks of the year for me, bar none! Although if I had started a month earlier, it’s possible that the egg collection would be about now, meaning I would have to take a day off, which would have been almost impossible to do without losing my job – I simply could not take time off work unless I’d been hit by a car. In front of my work colleagues.

So being pumped full of hormones during the busiest week (yes, the busiest 3 weeks, and next week is the busiest of the three – ha ha ha – timing IS everything)… this is going to be … interesting. I’m a bit scared actually!

I really want a large glass of velvety,peppery, yummy, stress-relieving red wine. But I have a herbal tea. Then meditate. Which was good, I felt calmer. But I still want that glass of wine.

Quick post script if it’s not too much information – the only side effect so far from the Lucrin is a ludicrously heavy period. I thought half my insides were shedding.


Filed under ART, IVF