We all know that there's more to getting pregnant than just thinking positively. On the other hand, it's not all about having sex at the 'right' time. Scientists are continuing to learn more and more about the powerful connection between mind and body and how this can affect a person's fertility.
Bad thoughts can feed every cell in the body, leading to psychological blocks that stand in the way of conception. When it comes to having a baby, most people understand the importance of looking after themselves physically. They make an effort to eat the right foods, exercise regularly and take appropriate vitamins. But far fewer pay attention to the health of their minds and the bearing this can have on fertility.
Negative emotions and behaviours can lead to increased anxiety, depression and stress, all of which are pervasive elements that affect our reproductive health. When a woman finds herself faced with another negative pregnancy test month after month, it's understandable that she begins to feel less in control of her body and life. Anxiety sets in, stress levels increase, and the problem gets worse.
Negative moods like stress, anxiety and depression cause hormonal imbalances in the body that can suppress ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count. We need to become masters of our brains by dedicating time, energy and focus to calm the mind and positively influence our bodies' hormones that affect reproduction.
Our top five tips to start using your mind to help your body conceive
Just like we exercise our bodies to improve circulation, reduce stress and increase energy, we can do the same for our brains. Exercise for the mind is a new kind of meditation that restores and calms the mind. It's about deep relaxation and is ideally suited for women trying to conceive.
Find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed and put on some peaceful music. You may want to sit, recline or lie down, just make sure you get in the same position each time so your body becomes conditioned to relax. Close your eyes and breathe deeply by expanding your abdomen as far as it will go. Hold it for a few seconds, then slowly exhale. Concentrate on the sound of your breath to help quieten your thoughts. Now, with your eyes stills closed, think carefully about each body part, starting with your head, while saying the words 'relax' or 'heal' or 'become quiet and heavy'. Whatever words work for you. Above all, make sure that this time is enjoyable and just for you.
Don't be put off by the use of needles. This is a painless procedure that works on the theory that some illnesses are derived from an imbalance in the body's natural energies or 'chi'. The insertion of needles aims to adjust this imbalance. It is particularly affective at reducing stress. When people are under stress, the hormone cortisol is released in the brain. Acupuncture counters the effects of this by releasing endorphins that exert a calming effect that relieves symptoms of stress. Some studies have also suggested that acupuncture raises progesterone levels - one of the hormones needed for conception - in ovulating women by increasing blood flow and balancing the endocrine system.
The mind is a powerful tool and visualisation has shown in studies to cause physical changes in a person's body. It can quickly shift your thoughts and beliefs from a negative to a positive state and is particularly effective when enhancing fertility. Start by relaxing your body and quietening your thoughts. Then just let an image of fertility come to mind. It can be anything: an opening flower, a running stream, a beautiful pregnant woman. It may take the form of a colour, shape or word. Every time you picture this image, imagine yourself feeling confident, peaceful, feminine and fertile. Your mind cannot tell the difference between imaginary and real so the emotions you begin to feel as you repeat this exercise gradually become the real thing. Practice and repetition is key.
4 Fertility Massage
Fertility massage can include a combination of abdominal sacral massage, pulsing, trigger point therapy and reflexology. A woman's body will often hold on to a lot of stress and emotion in her abdomen. These techniques are designed to ease tension and clear the mind, as well as physical benefits such as increasing circulation to the uterus, ovaries and eggs, in addition to bringing fresh oxygenated blood to the reproductive system. A skilled practitioner can perform this technique, or you and your partner can learn how to do it yourselves through various books and DVDs available. Both can be incredibly affective if done correctly and regularly.
The mind can affect a person's ability to get pregnant on many levels. Hypnotherapy is an extremely effective way of accessing the mental state, giving you the power to reduce stress, boost positivity, release deep-seated fears and re-programme unhelpful habits. It works by making suggestions to the subconscious part of the mind and has a cumulative impact. A typical session will usually begin with an informal chat with your practitioner, who will ask more about your goals and objectives for the session.
Then begins the process of guiding you from normal waking consciousness into the hypnotic state. Gently, the hypnotherapist will guide you through visualisation exercises and help to reinforce thoughts of conception to make a positive impact on your subconscious mind. It is normal to be given a set of skills and techniques that you can practice on your own, allowing you to access the most positive state of your mind whenever you want.
So, if you are struggling to conceive and begin to feel helpless there are several ways you can take back a feeling of control and positive steps you can take with your body and your mind so that you give yourself the best opportunity to of becoming pregnant.
Find out more about the holistic approach of the Zita West Fertility Clinic at www.zitawest.com