Ayurveda is a holistic practice. It is an approach that focuses not only on the body but also on the mind and spirit. It's also important to recognize that when it comes to Ayurveda and fertility, both partners are involved. Male and female health and fertility are each vital to the conception of a healthy child and a successful pregnancy.
Did you know 12% of women in the US have difficulty getting pregnant and/or carrying a pregnancy to term? And, 6% of couples are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying.
If you have been trying for a while, you realize how stressful getting pregnant can be. Advice to “just relax and it will happen!” probably isn’t too helpful. If you’re willing to put in the effort, and a little bit of time, the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda can help you improve your health, stress less, and improve your chances of pregnancy.
Ayurveda’s Four Essential Elements of Fertility
Ayurveda is known for its understanding and balancing of the body's three doshas
- Vata (air, space, wind): Controls nerve impulses and movements.
- Pitta (fire,sun,water). Controls the metabolism, digestive system, and body temperature.
- Kapha (water, earth, moon). Body maintenance, tissue development, and system lubrication.
Balancing these doshas to reset your system and improve your overall health, physically, mentally, and emotionally, is the goal of Ayurvedic practitioners.
In addition to your doshas, Ayurveda says that four elements must work together for a pregnancy to take place.
1. Timing (Rtu)
Many couples consider the aspect of timing whether they are taking an Ayurvedic approach or not. This can center around the question, “are we ready?”. But it also looks at seasons, life events, world events, and the woman's menstrual cycle.
2. The Field (Kshetra)
The field takes a look at the health of the entire body, both male and female, and the literal field where pregnancy occurs, the womb. Whole-body health can include being physically fit, free of toxins, and having balanced doshas. The womb includes the uterus and the fallopian tubes.
3. Healthy and Nutritious Fluids (Ambu)
The body contains many fluids, each one’s health is important. This element includes lymph, blood, plasmas, vitamins, minerals, and hormones
4. The Seed (Bija)
This element focuses on the egg and sperm. The ayurvedic practice believes that reproductive tissues require “ the best of the best” in order to be ideal for fertility. Their health is dependent on the foods you ingest, your thoughts and emotions, and your environment.
This can seem like a lot. But small changes can help harmonize your body, mind, and spirit and set the stage for conception. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet, participating in physical activity, and paying attention to your bodily functions (such as menstruation) can be beneficial.
However, it is important not to overlook stress
Stress and Fertility
Stress is a factor in all of the elements, but it is most associated with nutritious fluids. Cortisol, or the body's stress hormone, can have a drying effect. Not only will your nervous system be panicked and out of sorts, but your body's fluids may also be less abundant. This can affect both male and female fertility.
Additionally, the pituitary gland can become dysregulated. This can wreak havoc on ovulation, and menstruation. Also, testosterone, and as a result sperm quality and quantity.
Finally, stress can cause your body to try and conserve resources, like nutritious fluids, because it believes that it is in a state of panic. In turn, these resources are less available for the process of reproduction and fertility may be reduced.
Unfortunately, for some couples, the journey to conception is undoubtedly stressful. Trying to get the timing right, focusing on managing your physical health and controlling your emotions, is all understandably overwhelming. So what can you do to help decrease stress while attempting to get pregnant?
Tips for Managing Stress, the Ayurvedic Way
Holistic supplements, like moringa, Shatavari, and ashwagandha may be beneficial as they excel at reducing tension in the body and promoting a state of calm.
Ashwagandha is perhaps the most praised for its calming properties. Trying to conceive can be a stressful time, especially if you don’t fall pregnant within the first cycle. Ashwagandha can help to reduce tension, lower cortisol levels, and improve blood flow; all things that can positively affect your fertility.
Moringa, known as the miracle tree, has a high vitamin and mineral content. It also contains protein, fiber, and is a great source of antioxidants. Its stellar nutritional qualities may help boost your nutritional stores, regulate your digestion, and flush out toxins. In turn, this may make your body more prepared for pregnancy by increasing the health of both the field and the seed.
Moringa isn’t great for just you, it may improve your partner's fertility as well. It is believed to help fight off oxidative damage that can interfere with sperm production thanks to its antioxidant properties. So don’t forget to add a dash to his morning smoothies too!
Shatavari has long been used as an aphrodisiac and fertility booster in Ayurvedic medicine. Its high levels of phytoestrogens are very helpful in regulating the menstrual cycle, an important consideration when trying to conceive.
Shatavari also promotes the production of luteinizing hormone (necessary for ovulation) and promotes mucosal health. Healthy cervix membranes and mucus are vital for conception. Finally, this adaptogenic plant can help your body more effectively combat stress. And as we discussed, stress is the nemesis when trying to conceive.
These supplements, along with de-stressing practices like yoga, meditation, or even walking may just increase your fertility. Want to know more about Ayurveda and its role in both female and male fertility? Check out our next segment.
Where to Buy Pure Ayurvedic Supplements
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Posted by Shruti Mishra
Shruti is the founder of Freshly Moms. She is a graduate from Natural Gourmet Institute, NY and a certified IIN Nutritionist. She has been working with food & nutrition since 8 years and is also a fresh mom herself.