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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tip of the Week: Yoga Helps You Get Pregnant

Doing Bikram Yoga during pregnancy is not only safe but also a healthy experience throughout the term of your pregnancy. With your doctor’s permission and knowing Bikram’s modifications, continuing your practice during pregnancy can be a beautiful time for you and your baby.

If you aren't pregnant yet, having a strong practice before you conceive is very beneficial. With a solid practice already in place, as long as you're feeling good you may just continue your regular practice after you conceive until you feel the need for the modifications (between 8 and 12 weeks), and under the advice of your doctor or midwife.  Many women have practiced right up until delivery. You may notice that the practice is very challenging in the first trimester as you are adjusting to hormones and increased blood volume. 

The first trimester is a vital time for the developing fetus and you may be tired and/or feeling ill. Therefore, it is best to wait until after your 12th week before starting the yoga for the first time. Postures are modified for pregnancy but done with the regular students so you are welcome at any class. 

If you've been having difficulty conceiving, the following by Genny Wilkinson-Priest on Healthista answers the question: "Can Yoga Help You Get Pregnant?"

"Many women today, whether because they prioritise their careers or meet their partner later in life, are starting their families later in life. In fact, the average age a woman gives birth in this country reached 30 for the first time ever last year. While post-35 – the age at which doctors warn fertility takes a nose dive – some women get pregnant easily; others find it difficult to conceive without (or even with) the use of medical intervention like IVF.

When you’re trying to get pregnant and it’s not happening, you start to examine aspects of your life that might be a factor blocking conception such as the amount of alcohol you drink or the number of hours you work in a stressed-out office environment. You might scrutinise how you exercise as studies have shown too much or too little  can affect hormonal balance and the regularity of a woman’s cycle.

I should know – when trying to conceive six years ago, I went through a ‘bat shit crazy’ phase as my husband now likes to call it. I wanted a baby so badly that it was all I could think about and my moods swung wildly, culminating in one episode when I hurled a glass of wine across the kitchen table at my husband over the mildest of infractions. It was only when I let go of my deeply rooted desire, and practiced yoga and meditation daily, that I got pregnant.

Zita West is one of many fertility experts that  recommends yoga to her patients who are having difficulty conceiving. ‘Any exercise that involves mindfulness, breathing techniques and meditative visualisation has many physical, emotional and mental benefits,’ she said, adding that yoga is a calming antidote to any woman consumed by an overwhelming desire for a baby, the resulting stress of which becomes an impediment to conception itself.

Yoga teaches us that suffering is caused by attachment. In this case it’s never more true than when trying to get pregnant month-in, month-out, buying stacks of ovulation kits, popping ovulation stimulating medication such as Clomid like tic tacs, and going through the slog of IVF treatment.

Did yoga help me conceive? I can’t say for sure, but it did help me calm down and keep things in perspective. I now have four children and when I was trying to conceive I practiced many aspects of yoga from postures to meditation to mantra to visualisation. Yoga helped me connect with, better know and understand my body; I believe this was a crucial factor in my fertility."

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