Friday 23 March 2018

Lie back and think of the beach to get pregnant

Library Image. Photo: Thinkstock.
Library Image. Photo: Thinkstock.

Lying back and thinking about the beach - or wherever else one finds relaxing - can increase the chance of getting pregnant, claim researchers.

Researchers found that women who actively took part in stress management therapy, including visualisation techniques like imagining being on a beach, significantly increased their chances of pregnancy.

In a small study of Israeli women undergoing IVF, 88 per cent of those who committed to a ‘talking cure’ therapy programme became pregnant, compared to just 60 per cent who were not on it.

Jo Czamanski-Cohen of Ben Gurion University in Israel, said many women undergoing IVF convinced themselves they would never become pregnant as a self-defence mechanism.

They told her “I’m never going to be a mother,” she said.

She commented: “I think a lot of the negative thinking is preventing disappointment for them. It’s to stop them being disappointed if it does fail.”

She found all but two of 17 who completed a course in cognitive behavioural therapy ended up getting pregnant. By comparison, 10 of 25 of those who were not offered the sessions did not conceive.

The sessions involved breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and ‘guided imagery’ techniques such as imagining oneself in a relaxing place.

“Eighty per cent of the people I work with use the beach,” she said.

Dr Alice Domar, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said becoming less fertile was an evolutionary response to intense stress, as being pregnant during times of high stress - such as famine - endangered both woman and child. Managing that stress could therefore help them become more fertile, she reasoned.

Stephen Adams

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