Everything you need to know about practicing yoga during IVF

It’s not uncommon to feel unsure about what type of exercise you can safely do throughout the IVF process. I often have women say they feel afraid to do anything in case they do something ‘wrong.’

Practicing yoga during IVF is a great option (especially a class that is tailored for fertility) as it will be gentle, nurturing and will help you tune in with your own body.

Practicing fertility yoga will NOT hurt your chances of falling pregnant and will also help you manage stress throughout your IVF journey.

What to avoid when practicing yoga during IVF

Hot yoga

When you’re trying to conceive, and especially during IVF, we want to avoid raising the body temperature to extremes. Too much heat places stress on the body which can impact your chances of conceiving.

Extreme heat also needs to be avoided during pregnancy as it has been linked to birth defects and early miscarriage. For two weeks of any menstrual cycle you may already be pregnant but not know it yet, so it’s best to avoid hot yoga at this time.

Deep twists / belly compression

Deep twists are designed to cleanse and compress the internal organs. While we may do some twisting during the pre-ovulatory phase with women who are trying to conceive naturally, I believe it’s best to avoid this altogether when you’re undergoing IVF.

The IVF process can cause bloating and discomfort around the reproductive organs and it’s best to avoid deep twists or belly compression altogether.

The only exception to this may be if you’re undergoing a frozen transfer after a considerable break from the stimulation cycle. In this instance you may practice twisting in the pre-ovulatory phase as any woman conceiving naturally would do.

Anything too intense

IVF is a really taxing experience for the body, mind and emotions. You’re experiencing higher than normal hormone levels (which may make you feel a whole lot crazy), anxiety around procedures and if they’ll work, as well as undergoing a whole range of medical procedures that may make you feel like your body is no longer your own. Therefore this is not the time to be challenging your body through exercise. Fertility yoga is going to support your body to relax which is a great way to balance out the IVF process.

How will practicing yoga during IVF help?

+ Yoga gives you tools to manage stressful and emotional experiences. It gives you an outlet to release stress during the physical practice. It also teaches you how to breathe and be aware of the negative thoughts that often arise in stressful situations.

+ Yoga can help you stay connected to the magic of conception that happens within your body, even when it starts to feel overly medicalised and managed by others.

+ Yoga can help improve your overall reproductive health. It stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems to help flush excess toxins, including hormones.

+ Yoga helps calm the crazy. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Does my yoga practice need to change during the different stages of IVF?

STIMS / pre-ovulation – Yoga at this time can be more energetic than the rest of the cycle. We focus on getting blood flowing to help circulation and the lymphatic system to detox excess hormones. The class below is designed specifically for this stage of IVF.

Trigger shot / retrieval – This is good time to rest and manage your anxiety. You may be sore after retrieval so take the time to heal. This is a good time to practice meditations and visualisations. There are two of these specifically for IVF in my series or use the Insight timer app for more general meditations.

Transfer – I recommend you wait 3 days (or more if you’re feeling tender) before recommencing a physical practice after your transfer. In the meantime focus on managing emotions with meditation.

Two week wait – Yoga at this time should be gentle and nurturing. Waiting for the results can be a very anxious, hypersensitive time. Be gentle with yourself. Gentle movement at this time can help you to get out of your head and connect with your body, so this is a great time to practice yoga or go for walks.

Between rounds – Between IVF rounds can be a strange, emotional place to be. Your yoga can be more energetic at this time to help you shift emotions and stress. At this time we should also work to restore what an IVF cycle takes from the body. This is the time to prepare your body so that you are in the best health possible for your next cycle (or natural conception).

Other FAQS about IVF Yoga

Do you have any fertility yoga classes for men?

Not yet but they’re coming! I’m currently working on some classes and I just need to convince my husband to be in them with me. Stay tuned!

My doctor has said I can keep exercising as normal during IVF. Why are your classes so gentle?

Fertility yoga is often gentle as in our fast paced, modern world slowing down and reconnecting with our body is what we need to improve our fertility.

However… this doesn’t mean that anything more strenuous is necessarily “bad” for your fertility. I always ask my clients to check in with ‘does this deplete my energy or boost my energy overall’. If your current exercise routine genuinely makes you feel good, continuing doing that.

I do however recommend practicing meditation as this is a great way to stay connected so that you can ensure your current exercise routine is genuinely giving you energy. Sometimes we feel like it’s giving us energy because we get the post-exercise high but often it’s fueling the anxiety of the never-stop-productivity-train many of us have been on for far too long.

How can I practice fertility yoga with you?

My IVF yoga series is available in my shop as a one off purchase (you’ll receive links and password to access) OR you can sign up to my Online Yoga Circle membership.

Any other questions I haven’t answered – feel free to leave me a comment below! x

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