Doctors often tell IVF patients not to exercise while taking “stimming” drugs because the ovaries are enlarged which increases the risk of tubes becoming tied. Perhaps you shouldn’t be running marathons, but there are certain ways of exercising that you can do. A thoughtful yoga practice that combines mindful meditation with movement can help reduce stress (an important factor in IVF success) and direct blood flow (similar to acupuncture).
Here are five rules to follow when practicing yoga during your IVF cycle.
- Listen to your body. If anything doesn’t feel right, stop.
- No twists.
- No full inversions.
- Don’t work your abdominal muscles
- Stick with a restorative practice that keeps your body temperature neutral: don’t sweat!
Below are three simple and safe stretches to practice during your IVF cycle. Throughout the poses, make sure to pay close attention to your breath, taking deep inhales, and long, complete exhales.
Cat and Cow – On all four with the toes tucked under and the hands under the shoulders alternate the curve of your spine in a wave motion.
Blood flow! Blood flow! Blood flow! If you’ve been having acupuncture appointments during your IVF cycle, then you know about the importance of directing blood towards the uterus. This smoothing, two-step posture activates your qi helping to relieve stagnation while safely moving the spine to relieve tension and cramps. Keep your stomach loose, relaxing your abdominal muscles.
Legs up the Wall – Lay on your back, with your legs resting on the wall.
This posture is a wonderful way to invite relaxation and to encourage blood flow to the uterus. Our feet take on a great deal of stress every day and this gentle inversion gives them a break from the constant pounding. Your spine will be experiencing gravity in another direction encouraging proper alignment. If you’d like to the work into the hips, you can bring the feet together and allow the knees to fall open.
Restorative Hip Opener – Come to a comfortable laying position with your legs and upper body supported by pillows.
Allow the body to completely relax, surrendering into the posture. There are many unknowns with any IVF cycle that can overwhelm the mind, try embracing the unknown from a place of faith.
These three postures are generally thought to be safe regardless of your yoga background. If you want a complete practice, taking Restorative or Prenatal yoga classes are an option, but be sure to speak with the instructor before class and follow the five rules above.