Here is how yoga can help stress and infertility. Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron from the Fertility Centers of Illinois and Beth Heller and Tami Quinn from Pulling Down the Moon Holistic Health give us some great advice.

Can stress cause infertility?

Stress is not a cause of infertility, but infertility can cause stress which can negatively impact fertility potential. A study in the journal, Human Reproduction, found that 30 percent of women seeking infertility treatment have depression and anxiety. A recent scientific study found that women whose enzyme alpha-amylase levels, a stress-related substance, were in the highest third had more than double the risk of infertility. Stress can lengthen the amount of time required to become pregnant, negatively impact semen quality, decrease the success of fertility treatment, and cause depression and anxiety.
– Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, Fertility Centers of Illinois

What kind of activities can couples do to de-stress?

Stress is one of the fastest variables to change in the body, and taking proactive action through yoga, psychotherapy, meditation and potentially acupuncture can reduce the amount of stress in the body.
– Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, Fertility Centers of Illinois

stress and infertility

How Yoga Can Help Stress and Infertility?

Yoga is helpful in the treatment of depression. It also decreases inflammatory response to stress events. During a six-week Yoga for Fertility class at Pulling Down the Moon, participants learned yoga poses specific to reproductive function, breathing and medication instruction and group discussion. Many people experienced significantly decreased anxiety. Anxiety levels were measured by a questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of the class. The results were surprising as other studies have shown anxiety to increase in women doing Assisted Reproductive Technology treatment over time.
– Beth Heller and Tami Quinn, Pulling Down the Moon Holistic Health

Do you have to be in great shape to start practicing yoga?

There is a perception that yoga is all about the body and gals talk about hot yoga, getting a yoga butt and doing power yoga. The truth is that yoga is a very gentle form of exercise that is accessible to anyone at any fitness level or body type. In fact we get a lot of gals in our classes who are already doing “workout yoga” and are surprised at how good it feels to slow down, stretch and truly relax.
– Beth Heller and Tami Quinn, Pulling Down the Moon Holistic Health

How does yoga aid in relaxation and health?

There are many theories about how yoga can help folks relax and become healthier. The first is the focus on stretching and breathing. Deep breathing and stretching stimulate vagus nerve receptors under the skin. The vagus nerve is in charge of our rest-digest-and-nest body functions. It turns off the fight-or-flight response and allows our body to do the nourishing and healing tasks that get overlooked when we are in a constant state of alarm. Yoga may also decrease inflammation in the body and, with regular practice, has been shown to make practitioners more stress-resistant.
– Beth Heller and Tami Quinn, Pulling Down the Moon Holistic Health

How can yoga help you de-stress and maximize your fertility chances?

A study from Fertility and Sterility found that women who underwent a 10-week stress management program while undergoing IVF treatment had a 52 percent pregnancy rate compared to a 20 percent pregnancy rate in the control group. Yoga is important during stress management. It has been found that yoga is one of the best activities to help women de-stress. Yoga stretching helps women understand where tension is held in their body. When focus turned inward on breath and body, women also start to see where tension is residing in their mind. Negative thoughts can be addressed and released. There are yoga poses that have been used for thousands of years to support reproductive function by directing blood and life energy (prana) into key areas of the body.
– Beth Heller and Tami Quinn, Pulling Down the Moon Holistic Health

There are many families who already have children but would like more and are suffering from infertility. Can children also participate in a yoga ritual? Could this be a family event?

Absolutely! The same women who come to Pulling Down the Moon to get help with conception are now experiencing the stresses of parenthood and watching their kids struggle with the pressures of school and social life. There are lots of yoga kids and family yoga classes out there. Children and adults have to be taught how to relax. Yoga is one way to do this as a family. This is how How Yoga Can Help Stress and Infertility.
– Beth Heller and Tami Quinn, Pulling Down the Moon Holistic Health

The Fertility Centers of Illinois

Fertility Centers of Illinois is one of the leading fertility treatment practices in the United States. The provide advanced reproductive endocrinology services in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. FCI physicians, embryologists and support staff are  chosen based on educational background, medical skills and their ability to collaborate. A team of 11 nationally and internationally recognized reproductive physicians  treat thousands of patients each year. The practice has earned a reputation for overcoming hard-to-solve fertility issues. FCI is dedicated to medical and clinical excellence and continues to invest in the latest technologies and research.

FCI offers a comprehensive range of fertility treatment options including intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, donor egg, gestational carrier, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. There is also extensive resources to address financial and emotional needs. Fostering a culture for continuous innovation has made FCI home to the annual Midwest Reproductive Symposium. This attracts experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology from around the world.

FCI has 10 offices conveniently located throughout the Chicagoland area (Buffalo Grove, Chicago/River North, Crystal Lake, Glenview, Highland Park, Hoffman Estates, Lindenhurst, Warrenville, Oakbrook Terrace, and Orland Park). FCI is a member of the Attain Fertility Network which provides discounted fertility treatment programs. For more information visit

About Pulling Down the Moon:

Founded in 2002, Pulling Down The Moon Holistic Health is a pioneer Integrative Care provider that works in partnership with medical doctors to treat women’s health, family health and health crises through individualized, holistic programs focused on yoga, acupuncture, massage, nutrition counseling, spiritual guidance and more.

Former fertility patients and co-founders Tamara Quinn and Elisabeth Heller M.S are Registered Yoga Teachers. The are also authors of the innovative publication “Fully Fertile: A Holistic 12 – Week Plan for Optimal Fertility.

Personally understanding the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual challenges of infertility treatments, their work has been featured in major print and broadcast media outlets including: ABC, Fox, NBC, CW, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times,, Conceive Magazine, Yoga Journal, Entrepreneur, US News & World Report and more. For more information visit