We are blessed to have a number of incredibly knowledgeable and specialist practitioners locally, who work alongside the excellent services provided by the NHS, to support expectant and new parents. Some of these services are free; others require payment – they include antenatal classes, pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing, specialist physiotherapists or even simply, but crucially, the opportunity to build relationships and share experiences with other expectant parents through networks such as local Facebook groups.
What happens before this point? The journey of parenthood certainly doesn’t necessarily begin the moment you see the positive reading on the pregnancy test; for some there are long, relenting, emotionally charged months and years to even reach that point, and the level of support at this time is not so abundant.
A local yoga teacher, Yoga With Alice D, based in Wendover, hopes to re-address this imbalance in our area. Known for her specialisms in yoga for pregnancy, the postnatal period, and women’s cycles, Alice has used lockdown to additionally train and qualify in Fertility Yoga (85 hours CPD). How is yoga helpful for fertility? Yoga reduces levels of stress hormones in the blood stream which means the body can focus on reproductive hormones instead. It stimulates the heart and pelvic areas, encouraging blood flow to the reproductive organs. It supports and helps to regulate the endocrine system which helps balance the hormones – very important for fertility.
Alice writes “My wish is to support women during this stage of their lives as much as I can. I can’t make any promises unfortunately, but I can certainly guide women in the right direction. This may be on a physical level by helping them to elicit the relaxation, as opposed to a stress, response in their bodies. It may be more about positive thinking, focusing on the power of the subconscious, positive affirmations and encouraging a belief in their fertility. It might be about considering a more holistic approach to fertility, opening discussions they may have overlooked, such as the importance of sleep and nutrition; or focusing on the fundamentals of acceptance and mindful self-compassion. There are so many dynamics in play here, but hopefully amongst all these areas, there may be something that makes a difference, or if nothing else, helps improve the lifestyle and resilience of those who attend these classes.”
Who is the class suitable for? The yoga classes are suitable for all stages of the menstrual cycle including the two weeks wait; and the classes include slight adjustments according to where you are in your cycle and if you are menstruating. Fertility-focused yoga is extremely complementary to Assisted Reproductive Technology, with the exception of the 48-hours post-retrieval and post-implantation period.
What happens during a typical class? Each week has a different focus or theme; this is discussed and attendees are given the chance to connect with one another (if they wish – confidentially and personal preference on the way women wish to interact within class is respected). We work through specific breathing techniques for fertility; meditations; chosen fertility asanas (postures); and relaxations.
Yoga With Alice D is based in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, offering pregnancy, postnatal and women’s classes. Fertility Yoga launches in June in Aston Clinton. Alice is Mummy to Millie (4), Jasper (2) and Laurie (born in February). Bookings for Fertility Yoga are now open, with class sizes limited to 12 women to ensure adequate one-to-one focus. To find out more please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Images by Zoe C Photography & Sarah Greer Photography