5 Yoga Poses To Try When You’re Trying To Conceive

It can't hurt & it just might help.

Originally Published: 

Trying to conceive can be stressful, whether you’re just beginning to explore the possibility of getting pregnant or you’re deep in the throes of IVF. There’s so much to learn, and so many Old Wives’ Tales about fertility to sift through, it can be overwhelming. Whether or not you decide to go all in with ovulation kits and scheduled sex with your partner or have a more casual approach, some lifestyle adjustments are required for most of us when we embark on this path. Adding yoga to your routine is always a good idea: it just might help you conceive, and it certainly doesn’t hurt. We asked Sarah Ezrin, yoga teacher and author of The Yoga of Parenting, to share her thoughts about the benefits of yoga, yoga and fertility, and how to safely practice yoga while trying to conceive.

Can yoga increase fertility? Benefits of yoga when trying to conceive

While there isn’t a single magical pose that will increase your odds of getting pregnant, doing yoga has been proven to help people who practice to destress. If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while, you probably already know that stress has been shown to impact fertility. “The research is still growing around fertility and yoga and while there are few (if any) studies looking at specific poses and their effects on one's ability to conceive, the aspect that has been replicated again and again is that yoga is helpful at reducing stress, which can then improve people's chances of conceiving,” says Ezrin.

Increasingly, researchers have found that when we’re stressed out, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, she explains. You may know that feeling of being super on-alert a “fight-or-flight” response. It’s this stressed out state that can, it seems, perhaps interfere with fertility. “The challenge in modern times is that many people are under chronic stress — like their fight or flight response is stuck on.”

“A healthy nervous system should be able to calm down and swing to the other side, which is the parasympathetic nervous system response, also known as ‘rest and digest,’” Ezrin says. A calming yoga practice can help your body to relax by engaging your parasympathetic nervous system. In that ‘rest and digest’ state of being, your heart rate should be lower, and you may experience an increase in blood flow to return to the organs, which should be generally beneficial to your overall well-being which is, in turn, helpful for fertility.

Fertility, yoga and safety: Is yoga safe to do while trying to conceive?

“There is no one kind of yoga or pose that is absolutely contraindicated during pregnancy,” Ezrin says. “Pregnancy is so individualized, and there is a lot of mixed research and opinions out there.” As with any exercise you might decide to try for the first time when trying to conceive or in early pregnancy, it’s a good idea to check in with your health care provider about any risks to you and your particular health background. However, yoga is generally considered a safe and beneficial activity for healthy, low-risk pregnancies. “When it comes to high-risk pregnancies, it’s very nuanced and people need to check with their providers or midwife on what they advise,” Ezrin urges.

5 yoga poses to try

With a focus on steady breathing and mindful awareness as an inherent piece of a yoga practice, most any yoga class you attend or sequence you do should help you find calm. However, “there are certain poses that can help bring more awareness and even blood flow to the reproductive organs,” Ezrin says, adding that all of these poses are considered safe during early pregnancy, as long as you have been approved by your provider to do gentle yoga and movement. Her five favorite yoga poses to support fertility are:

1. Child’s Pose

“Just taking a moment to pause and put your head down can be soothing for your nervous system during this journey. Even though fertility is body-focused, we can get in our heads a lot. Resting in child’s pose with the head supported and folded compactly over your legs can be a symbol to your brain and head to bow humbly to the process. It's a moment for you to take a deep breath and meet yourself where you are.”

2. Cat/cow Breath

“Cat/cow is a dynamic sequence which helps connect breath to movement. It lubricates the spine and the inhale position (which is the equivalent of a back bend) strengthens the muscles of the back, and stretches the chest and torso. The exhale position, where the spine is in flexion, strengthens the belly and front body, while lengthening the back and glutes. There is a lot of movement of the pelvis in these and so cat/cow can be a nice way to reconnect to this area of the body. Breath is also intricately linked to our pelvic floor and the arch and round correspond to the natural movement of our pelvis during breath, in that inhales widen the pelvic floor and spread our sit bones apart, while exhales contract it and draw our sit bones together.”

3. Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2)

“In addition to the hip-opening and increased blood flow to the legs, there is a quality of resilience and strength that comes alongside doing warrior poses. It reminds us that we are stronger than we think and teaches us perseverance in the face of discomfort.”

4. Supta Baddha Konasana: Reclined Cobbler's Pose

“If you choose to lie on a bolster (vertically along your spine) or even simply prop up your outer thighs with blocks, this pose becomes categorized as restorative. Being supported by external objects such as yoga props or the wall gives the body an opportunity to stop bracing. Restorative yoga is excellent at supporting the ‘rest and digest’ response.”

5. Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall)

“This pose is categorized as an inversion and has a plethora of benefits that could extend to helping people on their fertility journey. Any time we go upside down (invert) the baroreceptors in our body (what regulates blood pressure) give the signal to the heart to slow down which can be very calming for the nervous system.”

A supportive yoga pose for partners to try: Bridge Pose

While your partner may not be the one going through fertility treatments, they do share your stresses, losses, and sense of uncertainty with you. Partner yoga may be particularly beneficial when you are trying to conceive, Ezrin suggests, where you and a partner would use each other's bodies to support each other. Syncing your body and breathe in this way can increase trust and a sense of connection. “Any of the poses shared above can be beneficial for the male partner, but an additional poses that is believed to improve sperm motility is bridge pose,” Ezrin adds.

Whether or not having a yoga practice itself can help you conceive, it can certainly help you navigate and manage the stressful and often anxiety-producing experience of trying to conceive.


Sarah Ezrin, yoga teacher and author of The Yoga of Parenting

This article was originally published on