I know, I know, I know, if you’ve heard the “just relax” line once you’ve probably heard it a million times!
And how can you “just relax”, when you’re desperate to fall pregnant and it’s not happening and, at the back of your mind, is the thought that it might never happen.
Doesn’t it just make you want to scream to hear such platitudes! Especially when you know they’re saying it with your best interests at heart. Don’t they know how difficult it is? No matter how you try to keep your mind off things, to keep busy and occupied, there’s a part of you that just keeps picking away at the waiting to get pregnant issue, like a scab that is never allowed to heal.
Well, irritating thought it may be, it’s sound advice. Being relaxed has physical, mental and emotional benefits which may well improve your chance of getting pregnant. Now, I’m not suggesting that just relaxing will get you pregnant, but there definitely is some evidence to suggest that being stressed will reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
When you relax you enter a state which is completely opposite to being under pressure or stressed. Relaxation allows your body to neutralise the stress chemicals and activates your repair and renewal processes.
A study at the University of Western Australia found that women were more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. And a study at Trakya University in Turkey found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting that relaxation may also boost male fertility.
Studies have also shown that relaxation can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, reduce blood pressure, and improve conditions such as arthritis, asthma, skin conditions such as psoriasis and heart disease.
Research at Harvard Medical School has shown that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level: long term practitioners of relaxation methods, such as yoga and meditation, have far more active “disease-fighting genes” compared to those who practised no form of relaxation. In particular, they found that genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. These experiments at Harvard showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood, environment and revealed that genes can just as easily be switched on as they switch off.
But saying “just relax” isn’t that helpful – it can even make you more tense …
So go for a therapy treatment, join a yoga class, do some Transendental Meditation, get a relaxation CD or even go for walk. Little and often will be much more helpful to get you into a deeply relaxed state than, for example, a one hour session weekly. So you can’t use the excuse that you’ve no time!
Try 15 minutes of relaxation every day for a month and notice how differently you will feel.