When Beyonce gave birth to Blue Ivy in January 2012, it followed a year's timeout, during which she backed away from the intense stress of life on the road and in the public eye. Turns out that may have helped her conceive as well.

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New research has confirmed what Harvard Medical School's Alice Domar has been telling couples for decades -- stress reduction techniques can greatly improve a woman's chances of becoming pregnant. A study by Domar's Mind/Body Fertility Program found that 55% of previously infertile women who adopted techniques such as mindful meditation and hatha yoga conceived within six months after going through the 10-session program, compared to only 20% in a control group that used no mind-body techniques.

Now we know why. Researchers from New Zealand have found that so-called RFRP neurons at the base of the brain get fired up when you are stressed and create a cascade of biochemical responses that suppress fertility. Their study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, may be the key to developing a new way to overcome infertility by selectively blocking RFRP's action.

Until then, if you're having trouble getting pregnant, we suggest you use these insights and work to banish your chronic stress responses. You can take up meditation (10 minutes morning and night); search for links to free online meditation classes. Or download the Cleveland Clinic's Mindful Moments app. Great yoga classes are available at DoYogaWithMe.com.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chairman of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

Friday, May 07, 2021