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An Integrative Approach to Pre-Conception and Fertility

January 17, 2018

By Elizabeth Bechard, BA, RYT

Trying to conceive can be one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. Many women embrace the preconception process as a time to focus on their health and well-being in a new way: welcoming nourishing foods that will support their bodies (and their growing little ones) during pregnancy; cutting back on caffeine and alcohol; booking massage and acupuncture appointments; and trading in intense workouts for gentler yoga sessions.

Pursuing an integrative approach to the conception process can help women feel more confident and empowered as they prepare for the incredible adventure of welcoming new life into the world. And for women facing fertility challenges, integrative medicine can offer the additional benefit of providing a strong foundation from which to navigate the emotional roller coaster that can accompany going through fertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Two of the most accessible (and evidence-based) ways that women can follow an integrative approach to fertility are focusing on healthy nutrition and practicing fertility-friendly yoga. Preconception nutrition research has shown important connections between healthy eating and fertility, and establishing a strong nutritional foundation at this stage of life can prepare women with healthy habits they’ll continue throughout motherhood. Numerous clinical trials demonstrate an evidence base for yoga as a powerful intervention for reducing stress and anxiety, which may improve fertility in women who are able to conceive without assisted reproductive technologies. Additionally, research on yoga for women undergoing fertility treatments suggests that it’s a powerful tool for enhancing emotional well-being and quality of life during what can be a highly stressful time.

This February, I’ll be co-teaching a full-day workshop on integrative yoga and nutrition for fertility along with my colleague Monica Gulisano. Whether you’re just beginning to think about trying to conceive or you’re in the midst of fertility treatments, this workshop is for you. All are welcome. You’ll learn how yoga can support your mind and body while trying to conceive, explore integrative nutrition approaches to enhance fertility, participate in fertility-friendly yoga practices, and have the chance to sample whole-foods recipes. Each participant will leave the workshop with the resources to create a personalized preconception self-care plan.

To register, head on over to the workshop page: Integrative Nutrition and Yoga for Pre-Conception and Fertility. We hope to see you soon!

About the Instructors

Monica Gulisano, RD, LDN is a mother and expert nutritionist who brings a wealth of experience in working with fertility and pregnancy.

Elizabeth Bechard, RYT is the mother of 21 month-old twins, and teaches fertility yoga on a weekly basis at the Duke Fertility Center. She is also a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach and clinical research coordinator at Duke Integrative Medicine.

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