We caught up with leading medical fertility specialists and holistic experts to find out more about fertility meditation and its positive effects on stress reduction, compassion and fertility rates.
Over to Sophie Braybrook….
Whether your anxiety levels have reached record highs, failed medical products have turned hope into dust-gathering clutter, or you’re simply looking for a new fertility tools, fertility meditation could be exactly what you need. When catching up with industry-leading medical and holistic experts, we found fertility meditation has extensive uses for those TTC (trying to conceive): from aiding relaxation, reducing stress and boosting positivity, to balancing hormones, increasing compassion and, ultimately, upping chances of conception. But, before we get into the details, let’s look at what fertility meditation actually is.
What Actually is Fertility Meditation?
Meditation works by quieting the mind and relaxing the body, and has the intention of increasing calmness, psychological balance, positivity and overall wellbeing.
“Fertility-specific meditation helps women let go of their negative mindset,” said Fertility Coach, Author, Speaker and Founder of Get Pregnant Now, Saskia Röell. Saskia explained that the practice works by helping women “Move away from negative thoughts like: ‘what if I am too old?’ or ‘what if my eggs are too old?’”, and instead “offers guidance to move toward a more positive and hopeful mindset.” Alongside evoking these positive reactions, there are many other benefits of fertility meditation…
Benefits of Fertility Meditation
While almost everyone TTC might be familiar with the heightened stress that comes alongside the painful experience of infertility, it’s less commonly known that this stress is also directly linked to lower conception rates.
“Stress has a damaging effect on our body,” confirmed Harley Street Fertility Clinic’s Director Dr Geetha Venkat, “it has a negative effect on egg and sperm quality, and on pregnancy rates.” Medical Director at Newlife Fertility Clinic Mr Amin Gafar agreed, telling Fertility Help Hub that “Chronic stress can affect ovulation by altering the hypothalamus functions which controls the release of the hormones responsible for ovulation.” To break this constant cycle of stress and infertility, it’s crucial to attack the stress head on. This is where fertility meditation comes in; “If there’s stress in the body, cortisol levels go up, and hormones go out of balance,” explained Saskia. Fertility meditation can work effectively by bringing down and correcting levels of this stress hormone in the body.
Alongside correcting cortisone levels, “Meditation releases another hormone, DHEA, which is known to prolong the life of cells, including eggs,” explained Dr Venkat. This means that, if practiced over a considerable time period, meditation has a direct effect on the quality of eggs and sperm, thereby increasing chances of conception. Another hormone – oxytocin – is also released during meditation. Oxytocin, or the happiness/love hormone helps with birth, bonding with the baby and milk production, as well as increasing general positivity levels. Read more: Menstrual Cycle and Hormones Explained
“Infertility brings several common feelings: a desperate wanting, victimhood, jealousy and impatience,” Intuitive Fertility Coach Joanne Sissons explained. Many TTC report an inability to celebrate friends’ pregnancies, increased arguments with their partners and extreme levels of self-blame for their situation. “Over time, each of these negative thoughts can sadly rob us of our self-love and self-worth,” Sissons concludes. Meditative practices help people become gentler with themselves and others, enhancing compassion and kindness and ultimately building stronger relationships.
Gafar explains more: “By turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment, meditation has been shown to improve self-compassion. This will have a positive impact on fertility, improving the chances of achieving pregnancy, both spontaneously and following fertility treatment.”
Joanne, who used fertility meditation during her own fertility struggles, told us how her practice increased her levels of self-compassion; “Meditation, or repeating a positive mantra, can really make a difference,” Joanne explained, “those practising can expect to reconnect to themselves in new ways. How do I know? Because meditation saved me by drastically increasing my self-compassion when I was trying to conceive.”
Getting Started with Fertility Meditation
“Meditation can seem very daunting,” Joanne explained. “We’re not used to slowing down and setting aside time for ourselves. Plus, there are so many different ways to meditate; it can prevent us from giving it a go. “But let me share my simple theory,” Joanne continued, “if you can pause, close your eyes and become aware of your breath then you’ve entered a state of meditation, and once in that place of calm, you can’t get it wrong.” Let’s look into different meditation techniques, including the more common and the fertility specific to find out what best suits you:
Types of Fertility Meditation
You’ll have likely heard of mindfulness. Mastering mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to your body, thoughts, feelings and breathing, increasing awareness of your emotions and allowing you to detach yourself where necessary, resulting in clearer judgements and greater compassion.
“Mindfulness meditation can help activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which ultimately calms the mind and body,” explained Healing Infertility’s Founder Amira Posner. “It allows us to rebalance our system and return to a place of equilibrium.”
Best for: stress reduction and hormone rebalancing
Visualisations and Mantras
“Often, at times when we are dealing with struggles like infertility, our self-talk and perspective have a strong negativity bias,” said Amira. “We have the power to alter this by bringing new information into our system.” This is where visualisation and mantra meditation come in.
Visualisation for Fertility
Visualisation is the practice of envisioning the things you want to develop a positive and hopeful mindset that will help you manifest what you want into being. As a form of fertility meditation, visualisations include imagining yourself with a bump, picturing your baby growing in your womb and holding your baby for the first time. This practice is thought to help promote “a fertile mind and body; allowing yourself to be nourished with thoughts of possibility and capability,” explained Amira.
Mantra Meditation for Fertility
“Mantras are another great technique to try,” Joanne told Fertility Help Hub. “Repeating mantras can quickly snap you out of a low vibrating thought pattern. The day I stopped ‘wanting’ and started ‘welcoming’ my baby, I felt a positive shift within my whole body.”
Like visualisations, mantra meditation is about positively shifting your mindset to manifest something. But instead of using visualisations, you repeat a word that resonates with you and your intention for your practice. Common mantras for fertility meditation include your future baby’s name and words like ‘strength’, ‘tranquillity’, ‘fertility’ or ‘baby’.
“Let’s look at the words for a moment,” Joanne continued. “When you say, ‘I want a baby’, the body becomes tense, and the mind is desperately seeking. But when you say, ‘I welcome a baby’, the body becomes wide open, and it creates a softening within the heart.”
Best for: changing your mindset to one of positivity and hope; creating a space for your baby
Other Types of Fertility Meditation
Hypnotherapy, mindful activities and writing gratitudes are just a few of the other means of meditation you can introduce into your fertility journey. Find further information on fertility meditation practices in our interview with Andreia Trigo, multi-award-winning nurse consultant, fertility coach, TEDx speaker and author.