“Using your mind to improve your fertility? Not as strange as you might think! If you have ever blushed, you’ll understand what I mean. That embarrassment you felt, visible to the world. Research shows emotions influence all body functions, especially fertility hormones. Fertility Mindfulness tips the odds of conceiving in your favor. Re-align your mindset and prepare for conception success, no matter what you have experienced.” – Helena Tubridy
Infertility is primarily a medical condition due to physiological problems. It is quite common. It is estimated that in the U.S. 6.7 million women, about 10% of the population of women 15-44, have an impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term and about 6% are infertile.
Infertility can be more than just a medical issue. It can be an emotional crisis for many couples, especially for the women. Couples attending a fertility clinic reported that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives. Women with infertility reported feeling as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack. Men’s reactions are more complicated. If the reason for the infertility is due to an issue with the woman, then men aren’t as distressed as the women. But if they are the ones who are infertile, they experience the same levels of low self-esteem, stigma, and depression as infertile women do. In addition, infertility can markedly impact the couple’s relationship, straining their emotional connection and interactions and the prescribed treatments can take the spontaneity and joy from lovemaking making it strained and mechanical.
The stress of infertility and engaging in infertility treatments may exacerbate the problem. The anxiety and stress may actually make it more difficult to conceive. In fact, recent studies found that higher rates of infertility treatment success in people who were undergoing a mind–body interventions. So, reducing stress and anxiety may be beneficial for conception. Since mindfulness training has been shown to reduce anxiety (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/category/research-news/anxiety/) and stress (see http://contemplative-studies.org/wp/index.php/category/research-news/stress/) it is reasonable to believe that mindfulness training may be helpful for conception in women with fertility issues.
In today’s Research News article “Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on fertility quality of life and pregnancy rates among women subjected to first in vitro fertilization treatment”
Li and colleagues conducted a 6-week mindfulness training with women undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment. In comparison to a treatment as usual control group, they found that the mindfulness training produced significant improvements in mindfulness, self-compassion, emotion regulation, improved coping responses and fertility quality of life. There was also a decrease in the influence of infertility on physical health, cognition, and behavior. Importantly, the treatment resulted in significantly higher proportion of the participants who had a viable pregnancy by virtue of in vitro fertilization. Hence it appears that mindfulness treatment improves the women’s psychological and physical well-being and this in turn improves their ability to have a successful outcome to in vitro fertilization, becoming pregnant.
These are wonderful and encouraging findings that mindfulness can have such significant positive benefits for women with infertility. The fact that mindfulness is known to reduce the physical and psychological responses to stress, reduce anxiety, and improve emotion regulation is likely responsible for these benefits. This allows the women to better cope with the difficulties of infertility and its treatment.
Mindfulness training is a safe and effective treatment with many benefits for virtually everyone and for many psychological and medical issues. The results from this study add infertility treatment to the usefulness and positive effects of mindfulness training. This can be of great benefit to large numbers of women who struggle with infertility.
So, improve fertility with mindfulness.
“My bottom line is that if mindfulness and meditation are things that you would be interested in anyway, then using them as a strategy to help cope with fertility treatment sounds logical and beneficial.” – Erin Stronach
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies