Hypnosis and 'Unexplained Infertility'
Receiving a diagnosis of 'unexplained infertility' can strike terror in the hearts of couples who want to be parents. Couples can feel helpless and frustrated with this diagnosis but it really is the best news you can get after medical investigations. It means that there is NO physical reason you cannot become parents - so it may be more helpful to look at it this way. You are NOT infertile (you have the medical proof), you just haven't conceived - YET.
"Optimism goes all the way with
pessimism but arrives at a point far beyond it."
Negative feelings and unexpressed emotions such as the anguish, guilt, stress, anxiety and shame can create extreme emotional conflict, which affects every cell of the body and can cause or compound reproductive problems. Negative self-talk has a direct causative effect on the endocrine (hormonal) system. Issues involving sexual abuse or other trauma can diminish overall feelings of safety and cause a woman to live in a state of constant fear. Though the conscious mind resolves to forget or move past the incident, the unconscious mind (the emotional part of the mind) is in conflict because of feelings of betrayal and endangerment. The sympathetic nervous system remains on guard, overriding the body's natural tendency toward balance. As this condition becomes chronic, the parasympathetic nervous system, concerned with conservation of energy and restoration, is unable to fulfil its regenerative duties. Lack of health and vitality, which is the natural result of disharmony between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, leads to a variety of stress-related symptoms - including 'unexplained infertility.'
The neurochemical barrage that is associated with the 'fight or flight' response in all human bodies, and which can be triggered by a threat to self-esteem or dignity, translates in the body as contraction of the muscles, an acceleration of the cardiovascular system, and the release of 'emergency' hormones throughout the body. The body is on alarm, energy is directed toward the areas needed for actual 'fight' or 'flight' such as the arms and legs (the major muscle groups), and away from the areas that the brain considers less important. Unfortunately, the reproductive system is the most expendable. Once a chronic imbalance of the autonomic nervous system is created, only the regular and consistent practice of relaxation will facilitate the restoration of the parasympathetic nervous system. Hypnotherapy provides an effective means of establishing that restoration and enables women to establish the level of safety essential for reproduction to occur.
Recently the media has
become saturated with stories proclaiming the rise of 'infertility' and
our increasing 'need' for medical intervention. It is now an unfortunate
but common belief that it's just not easy to have a baby. Women may become
so preoccupied with becoming pregnant that they prematurely rush in for
medical testing. The stress brought on by this invasive protocol alone is
enough to impede the natural process. And at present time women aged 35
and up are immediately considered 'high-risk'. Hearing these words is
often enough to cause women devastating emotional upset and seriously
increase their already soaring stress levels. And stressor hormones, as we
have established, do not contribute to a pregnancy conducive environment.
How can Clinical Hypnotherapy be of benefit ?
Stress and a lack of confidence tend to be the top culprits that must be addressed with hypnosis for 'unexplained infertility'. Many couples have lost faith in the natural process of conception and maintain too strong a conviction in the need for medical assistance. And with more and more women in high stress jobs it's really no wonder that conception doesn't always occur immediately (disastrous in our want-it-right-now culture).
Hormonal problems also
sometimes contribute to conception issues. Restoration of hormonal balance
and eventual pregnancy may occur through the utilization of hypnosis
techniques and implementation of positive lifestyle changes such as diet
and exercise. Hypnosis is well recognized for its effectiveness in smoking
cessation, weight control, stress release, and general habit changing.
Interestingly, these same issues pose the biggest threats to fertility.
In an article by Suzy Greaves entitled "Can Hypnosis Help to Make You Pregnant?" Dr. Elizabeth Muir, a clinical psychologist working with hypnotherapy for infertility explains that hypnosis affects the hypothalamus - the neural centre at the base of the brain linked to the pituitary gland - and controls the flow of hormones in the body. The hypothalamus is sensitive to stress and acts as a bridge between the emotional and physical, turning emotional messages into physical responses that affect hormone levels. Muir believes that the psychological issues surrounding pregnancy are not sufficiently well addressed for many women with fertility problems.
Studies conducted by Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Behavioural Medicine Program for Infertility in Boston support Muir's theory that unresolved issues about having a baby can be removed with counselling and mind/body techniques such as hypnotherapy. In the first study published in 1999 in the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association 42% of 132 infertile women in the program conceived within six months of completing it. In the second study, published in 2000 in the journal Fertility and Sterility, 55% of the previously infertile women who met regularly in a mind/body program conceived, compared with 20% of the control group who used no mind/body techniques and who did not attend meetings.
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regained confidence, believed I would conceive and I did."
© Pauline Taylor 2017