Each year, more than 6 million American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term [source: Munk]. For those who turn to fertility treatments, the cost of having a baby can run from $10,000 to $20,000 per treatment -- the American Society of Reproductive Medicine estimates that one round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) typically costs $12,400 [sources: RESOLVE, Skoch]. And that's not including medicine.
There may be an alternative, complementary fertility treatment that costs only, on average, $12 per session [source: Evans]. Yoga class.
There are different types of yoga, but all are usually a mix of poses (called asanas), controlled breathing practice and meditation. Almost everyone knows that practicing yoga helps your improve balance, flexibility and strength, and according to the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, about 15 million people in the U.S. have tried yoga at least once [source: Weil].
Recently, scientists have been studying how practicing yoga may also have a positive impact as a therapy for chronic health conditions. Currently, practicing yoga is associated with better cardiovascular health as well as a stronger immune system and nervous system. And anyone looking for a fertility boost will be interested to know it also seems to have a positive effect on the reproductive system.
Practicing yoga as therapy won't (and can't) treat infertility problems such as cysts, blocked tubes and endometriosis -- but what it is good for is treating fertility problems that might be caused by a common malady: chronic stress.
We all deal with some level of stress on a day to day basis, but when stress becomes a chronic condition in our lives it can cause havoc in the body, leading to health problems such as anxiety and mood disorders, cardiovascular disease, and a depressed our immune system. According to the results of a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), it's chronic stress that keeps almost half of us awake at night [source: APA].
The role of stress in the fertility equation has always been thought of this way: Infertility causes stress, but stress doesn't cause infertility. As it turns out, that statement may not be entirely accurate. Stress may play a role in why we struggle with infertility, and yoga can help you manage stress.