Stress. It seems that it can integrate into every facet of our life.
Stress can come from working long hours, rush hour traffic or even the dreaded two week wait after IVF transfer. Stress also takes a toll on your body when you lack proper nutrition or sleep. There are many factors that can aid in reducing stress, but I often recommend meditation because it has been found to be one of the most effective ways. Even large, credible institutions like The Mayo Clinic and Harvard have written about the ways meditation can reduce stress.
Meditation has been shown to have many health benefits. These benefits include turning off genes that cause damage and chronic inflammation, as well as turning on genes that improve energy usage and prolong cell life. Here are 5 more specific ways meditation improves your chances of achieving a pregnancy.
Meditation Reduces Damage To Your Cells
The body has a wonderful, natural system that responds to injury and repairs damage. However, for some people this system can be too active, leading to chronic inflammation and do more harm than good. Examples of this include conditions like endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune problems. These conditions can lead to lower pregnancy rates, even in those women undergoing in-vitro fertilization. Meditation can turn off the genes that promote inflammation and improve the chances of getting pregnant.
Meditation Positively Changes Your Brain
There are several hormones that signal the brain when it’s time to grow and release a woman’s eggs. In men, these same hormones tell the testes to make sperm. If any of the key hormones are out of wack, or aren’t signaling to the brain properly, it directly impacts things like ovulation or sperm quality. It’s important to get the hormones in check in order to achieve a pregnancy.
Mindfulness meditation programs have been shown to cause increases in the amount of “gray matter” in key areas of the brain that help us handle anxiety and stress. This can regulate the hormones of reproduction and allow you to better handle the stress of achieving pregnancy.
Meditation Reduces Depression
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, up to 300 million people suffer from depression globally. Depression is twice as common in women compared to men and can be a major cause of disability, losing your job, and suicide.
There are several medical therapies for depression but fortunately, meditation has also been shown to reduce the symptoms and recurrence of depression. Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase compassion over time, providing you with more tools to continue on your fertility journey.
Meditation Increases Insulin Release
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas and allows cells to absorb glucose which the body uses for energy. If an individual is insulin resistant, that means they are unable to use insulin effectively. Insulin resistance has been associated with a woman’s inability to release an egg in a timely fashion (oligoovulation). Meditation may help correct this.
Meditation has been shown to turn on genes that promote the release of insulin. While this may not be a cure for conditions like PCOS that are directly related to insulin resistance, it is surely an easy non-medical way to promote balance in the body’s systems for sugar regulation which has positive benefits in attempting to achieve pregnancy.
Meditation Slows The Rate Of Damage To A Woman’s Eggs
A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. Therefore, it’s important to protect the ones she has left.
Naturally, our cells get older and slowly die over time. Meditation can slow programmed cell death and prolong the life of the cells, possibly giving you more time to get pregnant. Meditation actually turns on genes that maintain the length of structures called telomeres. Telomeres are important because they hang onto the end of our chromosomes to protect them from dying too quickly. Telomeres get removed over time until the cell is eventually destroyed. Therefore, if we can limit any destruction we can hopefully extend the life of our eggs.
Conclusion: Meditation Can Have A Positive Effect On Your Fertility Chances
There are many different ways you can meditate. There many apps that can help you get started with meditation, or even taking a few minutes alone before your day starts can have a positive impact. Start somewhere, build a habit or take a vacation to separate yourself from the stress of the day to day. Even 15 minutes a day, over time, can have a huge benefit.
Dr. Joseph Davis
Founder of Destination Fertility