Another tool that is claimed to boost fertility is hypnosis, also known as hypnotherapy. But before you start listening to the sound of a therapist’s voice, there are a few things to bare in mind.
Firstly and probably most importantly, UK law isn’t specific on the training required to perform hypnosis, meaning you could end up with a bogus hypnotherapist out to make a quick buck.
In other words, do your research before booking an appointment.
Though the service isn’t readily available through the NHS, you can easily find a private hypnotherapist through the Professional Standards Authority.
That way, at least you know they come recommended by healthcare professionals.
But what about the practice itself – does it actually work?
‘The mind is a very powerful tool that we have at our disposal; much of the work I do is encouraging women to have an optimist and hopeful outlook and to identify their resources,’ fertility expert Emma Cannon tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It is important to get the mind working for us rather than against us.
‘Among one of the tools I recommend is hypnotherapy for it’s ability to change our outlook. When we have a more optimist outlook it literally changes the brain chemicals to feel safer. In turn, this releases brain chemicals that support fertility and our nervous system to operate from feed or breed (rather than fight or flight, which is a response to danger).’
Clare Maddalena, a senior yoga teacher and doula tells Metro.co.uk that it’s about changing your ‘subconscious’ mindset.
‘Research has shown that hypnotherapy tends to work for around 72% of people in relation to fertility,’ she said.
‘It can fail when it meets resistance held as a limiting belief deep within the subconscious mind; beliefs you might not have any awareness of within your conscious thinking or indeed your aspirations.
‘To give a wider example – in our conscious mind we might say things like “I’m going to go on a diet” or “I’m not going to eat that cake”, but unless the subconscious mind has also changed, we will still eat that piece of cake. The subconscious pattern will always win, and it’s hard to change that programming.
Clare promotes integration therapy as an alternative to hypnosis.
She said: ‘A massive leap forward from hypnosis, integration therapy provides a modern and refreshed approach to neuro-linguistic programming, using tried and tested processes developed over 20 years in a talking-therapies setting.’
Does that mean you can trick your brain into getting pregnant? Yes and no, depending on your view of alternative medicines.
The release of anxiety or stress in the mind could create a more beneficial environment for the pregnancy to occur.
Lynsey Eastburn, a board-certified hypnotherapist and instructor in the US, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Hypnosis transforms that fear and frustration you’re feeling, providing you with the tools that enable you to achieve the relaxation necessary for a calm, peaceful, positive, and viable pregnancy.
‘Often what I see in my office are women so desperate to have a baby that their lives are an emotional roller coaster.
‘Many women are obsessed with cycle days and basal body temperature to the exclusion of almost everything else. Age 35 is automatically deemed high-risk in the infertility world, and women 35 and older are considered “advanced maternal age”.
‘Paralysed with fear, dreading the start of another menstrual cycle and consumed with thoughts of yet another failed attempt, marriages often end in tatters and shredded self-esteem, and with the body in a perpetual state of fight or flight, is it any wonder pregnancy doesn’t occur?.’
As always, before trying a new treatment, consult with your GP or other trained healthcare professional.
This story is part of Fertility Month, a month-long series covering all aspects of fertility.
For the next four weeks, we will be speaking to people at all stages of the fertility journey as well as doctors, lawyers and fertility experts who can shed light on the most important issues.
If you have a story to tell or a question to ask, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a selection of the stories from Fertility Month so far - and you can find all Fertility Month content here.