Your Holistic Guide to Fertility & IVF – Part 2

October 10, 2016

Meditation & Mindfulness

For all the years we have spent trying not to fall pregnant, we have lost our connection to our body and inner wisdom. Mind-body techniques are extremely valuable as it teaches us to get out of our heads and connect in with our body. This is an essential tool when it comes to our fertility. Mind-Body treatment of infertility patients has been shown to increase pregnancy rates as well as reducing psychological distress.

Circle & Bloom offer a mind-body series for natural fertility and IVF treatments. There is a daily meditation for each day of your cycle. I use these programs in my clinic with all of my patients.

Headspace is another great meditation app. Andy breaks meditation down and keeps it simple. There is a free download on Itunes. It’s 10 minutes of meditation for 10 nights. It’s a great introduction to meditation and easy to follow.

1 Giant Mind is a brilliant app. It is also another free download.  1 Giant Mind is a not for profit organisation that delivers learn to meditate programs. I highly recommend this app. Jonni Pollard has a way of weaving his magic into your life through meditation. Once you start you will want more! I know from personal experience.

Thoughts are seeds we plant in the soil of our bodies. In ancient Chinese medicine, there is a phrase “yi yi yin chi, and its translation is ‘energy follows intention’. Our overall attitude can play an important role in our fertility. The power of our mind and emotions can impact our health and well-being. Negative thinking can lead to stress, depression, and anxiety. Observing our thoughts becomes key in our ability to change them. Changing the way we think towards our fertility can have a profound impact on our overall happiness. I encourage you to shift your awareness to what is working in your body and how your body is responding. Begin to notice how your body feels each day as you move through your day. Focus on the positive aspects. How is your body supporting you? What feels good? What can you do live a healthier life?

Reduce Stress.

The mind-body connection has a huge impact on our fertility. One of the key aspects of fertility is to initiate the relaxation response. Whilst sex is fantastic for this, there is so much pressure around “making a baby” that even the most pleasurable act can become stressful.

Recent research has shown that for many woman infertility can create levels of anxiety and depression equivalent to women with cancer, HIV status or heart diseases.

 According to Dr. Gabor Mate, author of When the Body says No, the four major causes of stress are: lack of control, uncertainty, emotional isolation and the inability to express emotions. Many couples struggling to become pregnant are experiencing all 4 of these major stresses at any given time.

  • High levels of stress have been shown to:
  • Alter the function of hypothalamus gland, which controls ovulation
  • Contribute to irregular menstrual periods
  • Produce high levels of cortisol the “flight or fight” hormone
  • Decrease reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone
  • Divert blood flow away from the ovaries and uterine lining thereby affecting egg quality and successful implantation.

According to Psychologist Alice Domar, the director for the Mind-Body Center for Women at Boston IVF, her research suggests that stress and the psychological symptoms associated with infertility are similar to those associated with other serious medical conditions. Domar’s research also suggest that mind-body techniques that elicit a relaxation response such as meditation and yoga can reduce stress and increase chances of conceiving.


I am a self-confessed yogi and Yoga teacher. Yoga is a powerful life tool and is another must try for those who are trying to conceive. The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means to unite. It is about the connection of mind, body, breath and movement. Yoga is a combination of asana (postures) and breathing techniques that help you get into a state of relaxation and meditation. Yoga asana increases strength, improves flexibility and helps balance our hormones. Modern research has proven yoga to reduce the stress hormone- cortisol and in yoga physiology, it is believed that specific yoga postures increase blood flow and life force ‘prana’ or ‘qi’ to the reproductive organs.

Yoga for me personally has been life changing, creating a catalyst of positive change and a way of living. I was introduced to yoga over 7 years ago. The effects have been profound. Yoga has helped me through some of my toughest times in my life- the passing of my mother and the break-up of my thirteen-year relationship. What you practice on your mat you can take off your mat and use in everyday life. This brings a whole new paradigm of health and well-being.

This is why I have combined my work in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture with mind-body techniques and especially focused on fertility yoga. Yoga can be used as an integral pre-conception program.

Different types of breathing patterns have distinct physiological and psychological effects. When we connect to conscious breath, it triggers the physiological response of rest and digest. Everything in the body begins to slow down; our heart rate, our mind, our breathing becomes deeper and consciously we begin to connect in to our body. Suddenly, we notice we are in a more relaxed state.

The breath we want to promote in fertility is the belly breath. Slow deep rhythmic abdominal breathing. Belly breathing stimulates our vagus nerve, which controls important body functions such as respiration and digestion and sends sensory information to the brain. Using this breath shifts the hormonal milieu in the body from “flight or fight” to “rest, digest, and nest”.

Close your eyes and focus on breathing. Begin to identify your breathing pattern. Are you holding tension in your shoulders, back, and neck? Is your belly moving?

If you’re not using belly breath, try this exercise:

  1. Lie down on the floor with legs extended.
  2. Place your right hand on your heart and left hand on your lower belly
  3. Close your eyes and begin to breathe in and out of your nose.
  4. As you inhale feel your belly expand. Breath into your belly
  5. As you exhale, feel your belly contract, gently drawing belly to spine.

Continue this belly breathing for 5-10 minutes.

The combination of acupuncture, yoga, breathing, mindfulness and meditation really do help create a defense against the stress response and assist fertility. This in conjunction with Chinese herbs and now this new form of fertility yoga delivers Australian women more options to achieve their dream of motherhood.


Article by Dr. Amanda Waaldyk

Dr. Amanda Waaldyk is the founder of Angea Acupuncture and Yoga (Angea). Amanda’s true passion is to help women achieve their dreams of conceiving a baby. As a mother of two Amanda has experienced the beautiful journey that is parenthood first hand and brings this personal understanding to her work. Amanda is there for women (and men) along every step of their journey to parenthood. From conception to pregnancy to birth and beyond, Amanda and her team of highly specialised Acupuncturist are there to help. Along with her work as an Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Doctor Amanda also teaches pre-natal yoga and offers in-person and online classes. Further supporting her love and passion for Chinese herbs Amanda has developed a range of organic, medicinal teas – Angea Wellness Teas. These hand blended organic teas are available in the Angea clinic and online.

To find out more about Amanda and the Angea mission head to or follow the journey on Instagram: @angea_acupuncture_yoga

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