How to practice yoga during IVF

Feb 23, 2024
IVF yoga, fertility yoga

Fertility Yoga for IVF 

Practicing fertility yoga is one of the best ways that you can support your mind and body throughout an IVF cycle.  However, in order to follow “safe yoga for IVF” it is important to adapt your yoga practice to sync with what is happening in your body in each phase of your IVF cycle.  Whether you are a beginner or an advanced yoga practitioner, I recommend practicing with an IVF yoga expert, to make sure you are getting all the benefits and avoiding any postures that may put pressure on or twist the ovaries in this precious time. (FemFlow offers online fertility yoga videos for each phase of your natural cycle and a special series to accompany every step of your IVF journey).

As we’re focusing on IVF yoga, let’s explore the phases of IVF and how you can adapt your yoga practice to what is going on in each stage of your treatment!  One round or cycle of IVF is normally about a 3 week treatment and then a 2 week wait, then you can take a home pregnancy test or blood test or if implantation doesn't occur, you'll get your period.  Depending on if you are freezing eggs, going for a fresh embryo transfer, or if you will test embryos and go for a frozen transfer later this timeline may vary.  In the below visual, I have based it on a straightforward fresh embryo transfer cycle.  However, many people choose to accumulate eggs/embryos before transfer. 

 

 

Preparing for IVF

In the months leading up to IVF, or while trying to conceive naturally, I recommend following FemFlow cycle specific fertility yoga, which consists of yoga videos for the 4 phases of your menstrual cycle.  The focus is different in each phase, stimulating your reproductive glands, increasing blood flow to your uterus and ovaries and supporting your hormone and uterine lining activity throughout your cycle. You can also enjoy fertility self care rituals such as fertility massage, meditation and crystal healing for each phase.  You can find access to our fertility yoga membership here 

 

Yoga for IVF treatment plan 

Once you begin your IVF treatment plan, your clinic will provide you with an approximate timeline.  Your collection and transfer day will depend on how you respond to medication and therefore the dates below are for reference only and you should align your IVF yoga practice to where you are at in your IVF journey. 

Yoga for IVF stims 
(Menstrual phase Day 1-5) 

You’ll begin your IVF journey with IVF stims during your menstrual phase.  This is when you will self-inject hormones to stimulate the ovaries, which can be challenging if you don’t like needles, (or perhaps you will receive hormonal stimulation via a patch or pill form). For the first few days, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort, however, it is important to support the down and out menstrual flow (avoid twists and inversions). FemFlow IVF yoga course offers a relaxing menstrual phase yoga video and very supportive guided meditation for self-injection that literally accompanies you while you self-inject.  

Top 3 yoga poses for IVF stims 

  1. Janu Sirsasana (Open hip, sitting forward fold)
  2. Ustrasana (Camel Pose) 
  3. Eka Pada Rajakapota (Pigeon pose)

 

Yoga IVF Pre-trigger shot & collection day
(Follicular to Ovulation Phase Day 6-12 approx)  

Once your menstrual flow phases out, from around day 5 of your cycle, you may start to notice some discomfort as your ovaries swell and your belly starts to feel a little bruised around the injection site. As the stimulated ovaries are now growing bigger every day and weigh more, at this time it is important to avoid torsions and inversions to protect the ovaries from twisting and you should also avoid any poses that you may find uncomfortable, such as laying face down or overstretching the abdomen with deep extensions.  FemFlow IVF yoga course offers a gentle flowing IVF follicular phase Pre-trigger shot yoga video to help relax your body, open up the nerve pathways and stimulate blood-flow to the ovaries and womb space and a special IVF collection day meditation. (it is important to practice yoga for IVF at this delicate time and towards trigger shot, slow down to a gentle restorative yoga practice or meditation).  

Top 3 yoga poses for IVF trigger shot  

  1. IVF adapted Sun Salutations 
  2. Baddha Konasana  (Reclined butterfly pose) 
  3. Upavistha Konasana (Wide leg seated forward fold with bolster) 

 

Yoga after IVF egg retrieval 
(IVF recovery yoga and embryo care phase Day 13/14-19 approx) 

It is recommended to rest your body after egg retrieval to allow healing to take place. Every retrieval is different and it is important to get confirmation from your doctor that it’s safe to come back to your yoga practice.  

It is also a time when you feel like everything is out of your hands (body) and you may be feeling a little vulnerable after the operation and anxious to know how your eggs/embryos are getting along. FemFlow IVF yoga course offers a relaxing IVF recovery yoga video to melt into while your body is healing from collection and meditation with visualization and reiki energy transfer to your eggs/embryos, which helps to protect them while they are out of your energy field.

Top 3 IVF yoga poses for recovery after egg retrieval

  1. Savasana with yoga nidra  (corpse pose + guided meditation)
  2. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose)
  3. Baddha Konasana (reclined butterfly pose) 

  

Yoga for IVF embryo transfer
(Fresh embryo transfer, luteal phase Day 19-21)

Fresh transfer normally happens around 5 days after egg collection and frozen transfer depends if you are doing multiple collections or testing your embryos.  If you are on a break while embryos are being tested, you can follow the fertility yoga for your natural cycle. On embryo transfer day, gentle movement is encouraged, and it is not necessary to bed-rest, in fact, quite the opposite, research shows that women who go for a gentle walk and keep the circulation moving have better transfer results.

So, FemFlow IVF yoga offers a gentle yoga practice which stimulates blood flow to the womb space to support implantation and early pregnancy.  It is best to avoid twists and pressure around the abdominal area,  or any poses that energetically expulse such a Malasana (squatting pose) as this pose encourages downward flow.  FemFlow IVF yoga offers a video for implantation and early pregnancy yoga for the 2 week wait, which can be practiced after embryo transfer until a positive pregnancy test or period. During this time a gentle flowing practice is also ok, it doesn’t have to be passive.

 

Top 3 IVF yoga poses after embryo transfer (IVF 2 week wait) 

  1. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose)
  2. Baddha Konasana (reclined butterfly pose) 
  3. Upavistha Konasana (Wide leg seated forward fold with bolster)

 

COPYRIGHT Jane Dominey author 21 February 2024

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