Optimising Your Mind-Body Connection to Enhance Fertility and Conception
In our society and culture of today, many of us are choosing to start a family later in life and are typically spending our younger years travelling, focussing on our careers, and finding the right partner to build a home and family with. This is something I also chose, always knowing one day I would have my own family and therefore not giving it too much thought. After all, you are always taught that unprotected sex will result in pregnancy, so you best be careful, and so you are! Turns out for 1 in 7 couples it isn’t so easy to fall pregnant and they will experience fertility problems.
The inability to conceive can be incredibly stressful and can bare a huge strain on individuals and their relationships. We are now more than ever, becoming increasingly aware of the mind-body connection and the influence one has over the other, and this is very apparent with those experiencing fertility issues.
The impact of stress and mindset on conception
Trying to conceive as it is often referred to, can be immensely stressful and the very use of the word ‘try’ implies you are expecting to fail. There is so much anxiety around the whole process; constant tracking of your menstrual cycle, working out when your most fertile window is and planning sex accordingly, every month hoping for your period to not arrive and if there is the slightest whiff of it being late – you convince yourself you are experiencing symptoms of early pregnancy, only to have your dreams shattered a few days later when your period does arrive. It is so exhausting and desperately painful to experience this month after month and even year after year. On top of this, going through IVF treatment can cause further stress and causes an emotional and physical toll on the mind-body.
In times of stress our bodies are equipped to prevent conception from occurring. Stress causes us to produce the stress hormone cortisol and adrenal glands cannot make cortisol without progesterone. Referred to as the ‘progesterone steal’ to manufacture stress hormones, therefore progesterone levels for supporting a pregnancy, drop. GnRH is also inhibited, thereby suppressing ovulation, sexual activity, and sperm count. After prolonged stress, the sympathetic nervous system can become hyper-stimulated. A hyper-stimulated nervous system sends less blood to the uterus and ovaries, thereby impairing their optimal functioning.
It is not uncommon to develop beliefs that conceiving your own baby will never happen. This belief can become particularly strong for those who have experienced many months or years of not conceiving naturally or experienced IVF treatments that have not resulted in a successful pregnancy. Have you ever heard the phrase “if you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right?” Believing conception will not happen, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Changing your mindset to that of a more positive outlook can have a massive impact on natural and IVF conception success and can improve your well-being by reducing stress levels associated with negative beliefs. This is easier said than done and why being able to access our subconscious mind can be the key to creating the positive changes we are looking for.
Most people describe being under hypnosis as a feeling of calmness and being in a physically and mentally relaxed state. In this relaxed state, you can access your subconscious mind which is where we store our beliefs. Through positive suggestion, you will be able reprogram any negative thoughts towards your fertility and release any emotional blocks, which will help to think about and experience your challenges differently, so they become more manageable.
Hypnosis can increase the chances of conception naturally and through ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) by:
· Helping to relieve stress and the impact this has on the delicate hormone balance.
· Resolving any issues that may be affecting your ability to conceive and become a parent.
· Connecting with your body and womb space to activate your mind-body connection and to be open to welcoming your baby in to this space.
· Creating a more positive mindset throughout the rollercoaster ride of infertility.
· Regain control over your life and to recognise you have a life outside of your fertility issues.
When we enter a state of hypnosis by directing our attention towards increasing comfort, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, giving rise to what is known as the relaxation response. While in this state there is a measurable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, stress hormone levels and muscle tension and people experience a wonderful feeling of relaxation. Hypnotherapy is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and increase feelings of calmness and relaxation. Hypnosis can also help to restore confidence in yourself and your body. Being in a state of hypnosis can give you access to your unconscious mind; this can be useful to resolve any issues or unconscious blocks that may be affecting your ability to conceive and become a parent.