Yoga + Infertility = Baby?

Women battling infertility is a familiar (though harrowing) story these days. Women using yoga to reduce stress and love themselves better is another familiar story. So it comes as no surprise that yoga is helping women to cope with the physical and emotional stress of infertility and its treatments...It's also not a new idea. My ob/gyn, Dr. Eden Fromberg, opened Lila Wellness Center in New York several years ago to meet women's pre-and post- (and pre- pre-) natal needs. And there have been programs such as Receptive Nest, and studios such as Brooklyn's Bend & Bloom, helping women to reach full "bloom" in their childbearing years. Other renegade yoga specialists have been helping women for years to make the all-important mind-body connection necessary. But the NYTime's article this weekend, "Yoga as Stress Relief: An Aid for Infertility?" raises this issue with a new twist: once-skeptical fertility professionals (doctors) are giving yoga the green light. The tide is turning in how acceptable yoga is to support women in their quest to become pregnant.

Medical acceptance of yoga as a stress reliever for infertility patients is slowly growing. In 1990, when Dr. Domar first published research advocating a role for stress reduction in infertility treatment, “I wasn’t just laughed at by physicians,” she said. “I was laughed at by Resolve, the national infertility organization. They all said I was perpetuating a myth of ‘Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant.’ ” At the last meeting for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Domar, now on the national board of Resolve, gave multiple talks, including one about how to help the mind and body work together in infertile couples.

And this is a national phenomenon, not just a jag in New York or San Francisco where there are always a handful of people pushing the envelope. Still, even with yoga's help, infertility doesn't sound like too much fun.

“A lot of people want to boil it down to ‘If you relax, it will happen,’ ” Ms. Petigara, a former in vitro fertilization patient who adopted a son, wrote in an e-mail. “I absolutely feel that yoga can have a very positive impact on infertility, but infertility is a lot more than ‘just relaxing.’ ”

Oh!!! As in, lie back and think of England? Well, yoga never was really about passivity.If you happen to be dealing with infertility right now, you can attend the March 17th tele-seminar on “Yoga for Fertility” led by Jill Petigara, who teaches in the Philadelphia area. But you'll have to Google the details. Food for thought