Is yoga safe during IVF?

yoga safe during IVF

I get lots of emails asking is yoga safe during IVF.  

The answer is YES… and no.  Or perhaps more accurately, it depends what type. 

There are many types of yoga that are not only safe to practice when you’re going through the IVF process, but are also highly beneficial and can help you navigate what can be a really stressful process.

There are also some styles of yoga that I probably wouldn’t advise you practice when you’re going through IVF.

I believe your yoga practice should always work to balance and complement your life. So when you’re going through IVF you want a practice that will help you to manage the stress of the process and help you to get out of your head. 

It’s not the time to get super fit or work on your six pack, so you can skip the challenging or intense styles of yoga. IVF also demands a lot physically of your body, so you want a practice that is gentle and considers the potential bloating, hormonal issues and general discomfort that is common throughout IVF. 

Types of yoga that are safe during IVF

Fertility Yoga

Anything that has been designed with fertility in mind will be suitable to practice during the IVF process.  Just keep in mind that fertility yoga changes depending on what stage of your cycle (or IVF process) you’re in.  If you go to a studio, your teacher might ask you where you’re at in your cycle. Or if you’re practicing at home be sure to pick a class that suits the current stage of your cycle that you’re in. For example if you’re post transfer, pick a class that is suitable for the two week wait. 

Gentle Yoga

Gentle yoga classes can usually be accommodated well for students who are going through the IVF process. If you’re going to a studio you may like to let your teacher know that you’re going through IVF and that you won’t be doing any poses that compress your belly.

Restorative Yoga

The aim of restorative yoga is to restore the body, which is what makes it perfect for those going through IVF. It relies heavily on the use of props to support the body to fully relax.  Again, you’ll still want to avoid any belly compression especially after transfer, but even at other times as you may find the belly is more bloated than normal. 

Women’s Yoga

A yoga class that is advertised as ‘woman’s yoga’ is most likely going to be highly sensitive to those trying to conceive and so will be safe to practice for those doing IVF. It is still advisable to let your teacher know before practicing so that they can keep you in mind when instructing poses. 

Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is focused on releasing the fascia and tendons that hold the joints together. To do this, poses are held for long periods of time (up to five minutes) and then a rebound (or reset) position is moved into for about a minute.  During Yin yoga you’re encouraged to move to about 40% of your capacity as holding the poses for this length of time can be intense. Again, just be sure to avoid any poses that compress the belly. 

Styles of yoga to avoid during IVF

Hot yoga / Bikram yoga

When you’re trying to conceive, whether naturally or through IVF, you want to avoid anything that creates stress in the body. Heat and sweating is seen by the body as a form of stress. When the body gets too hot, it starts sweating in response to the heat and tries to cool itself down.  So if you’re trying to conceive or going through IVF, hot yoga is not the type of yoga you need right now.  Practice one of the various other styles of yoga and save hot yoga for postpartum when the heat is probably going to feel amazing down deep in your bones. (But that’s another story for another day). 

Power Yoga / Vinyasa Flow

Power yoga and vinyasa flow are often fast moving yoga classes that aim to build heat in the body and get you sweating. They are often challenging for a beginner and too fast paced for the teacher to have time to go into all the contraindications of the poses. (IE. what poses you shouldn’t be doing if you are trying to conceive, menstruating or pregnant).

Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga is often quite a strict style of yoga practice. In an ashtanga class you’ll work through a series of yoga poses that are designed to build in intensity.  Because of its intensity, ashtanga is not really the best type of yoga if you’re going through IVF.  Unless the ashtanga poses are taught with consideration to those that optimise fertility, I’d avoid this style if you are trying to conceive. 

Pregnancy Yoga

Anything included in a pregnancy yoga class is going to be suitable for practice during the IVF process. However, the language used during a pregnancy class (not to mention the emotional courage it would take to see all those pregnant bellies when you’re struggling to conceive) would probably make going to a physical class too difficult. So while you could practice a pregnancy class safely, I’d probably pick fertility specific class instead.

Wondering about any other styles of yoga classes that I’ve missed and whether they’re safe to practice when you’re going through IVF? Leave me a comment below and I’ll add them to the list. 

If you’re currently going through IVF, best of luck on your journey. I hope you find a yoga class that helps you to stay calm and enjoy the process. xx

Want to get started with fertility yoga with me? Download my free fertility yoga guide here.

3 Responses to “Is yoga safe during IVF?

  • Victoria
    2 years ago

    Hi, Thank you for sharing all this helpful info xxx I’ve just started stims and I’m confused about whether twists are OK … Like when you are lying on your back and your knees are like windscreen wipers etc… Or inversions like down dog, and is the bridge an inversion etc? Also is it OK to do asanas on egg collection day and after and on embryo transfer and after?… Also, I’ve got really achy thighs and hips today, any tips? Thank you again xxx

    • Bettina Rae
      2 years ago

      Hi Victoria. It can be confusing. If you practice my yoga for IVF classes you can relax and just follow along with the class that suits where you are at. But basically from ovulation to the end of menstruation we don’t compress the belly. You can do twists but only open twists. I would just practise gentle poses or Meditation on collection day or for the first few days after transfer. Hope that helps.

  • Victoria
    2 years ago

    Thank you!

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