You may not have thought of hypnotherapy or other holistic therapies as an aid conception but research has shown that using mind body techniques can more than double your chance of becoming pregnant 1. There has been a rise in recent years of the number of couples having difficulties and it is thought that 3.5 million people have problems conceiving in the UK alone, that’s around 15% of couples trying for a baby taking longer than 1 year to conceive 2. For many there is a physical cause that can be found for infertility 3, but for about a quarter of those having difficulties the cause cannot be found and they are diagnosed with ‘unexplained fertility’. There is hope though as there are some changes that you can make to increase your chances of becoming pregnant and hypnotherapy can help you with them. Hypnotherapy can help with some of the major contributors of infertility including weight, smoking and stress.
Being overweight or underweight affects fertility in both men and women as well as reducing a positive response to fertility treatment. It is believed that 30% of infertility cases can be due to weighing too much or too little 4. There is a direct link between the more overweight you are and the lower your chances of conception as well as a risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy issues. Weight loss in overweight women helps to regulate the menstrual cycles and increases the chance of spontaneous ovulation and conception 5. A study of over 1500 men found that men with either a low or a high BMI had differences in reproductive hormone levels as well as lower sperm counts than men of the recommended weight 6. Research has also shown that underweight females have lower conception rates than both those of a normal weight and those that are overweight 7.
The good news is that hypnotherapy can help you lose weight or put on weight if needed. Research has shown that using hypnosis for weight loss doubles your chance of losing weight than some other methods and that in the subjects who received hypnosis weight loss continued after treatment finished 8. It is also recommended that you seek the help of a nutritionist to aid you in making good choices for your health and well being as well as a counsellor if you suffer with an eating disorder.
Virtually all scientific research shows that smoking has a negative effect on fertility as well as conception taking longer for women that smoke. The effectiveness of IVF has been shown to be reduced by 50% amongst smokers and men that smoke have been found to have lower quality sperm 9. You will pleased to hear that hypnotherapy can help you to stop smoking. Research has shown that hypnotherapy is more effective than other stop smoking methods and is 15 times more effective than willpower alone 10
Recent research shows females with infertility have stress levels that are equivalent to people with cancer, AIDS or heart disease and that stress reduces the chance of conception 11. When stressed we are often in ‘fight and flight’ mode, stress hormones are constantly being released and energy is directed away from the systems not seen as necessary for immediate survival including our reproductive system. Our hypothalamus is the part of our brain that links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland and it regulates the stress response as well as our sex hormones so it is easy to see how stress can cause havoc to the delicate balance of the reproductive system. Also adrenaline one of the stress hormones that is released when stressed inhibits the production of progesterone which is needed to maintain a healthy uterus. Stress has also been shown to reduce the quality of sperm in men 12. It is our sympathetic nervous system that is activated when we are stressed and it is the parasympathetic nervous system that controls relaxation. Only one of these systems can be activated at one time. The good news is that Hypnotherapy relaxes you 13 ! It activates the parasympathetic nervous systems relaxation response. Research has also shown that after a course of hypnotherapy the sympathetic nervous system was less easily stimulated 14.
So what can happen in a Hypnotherapy session for Fertility?
I have researched the use of hypnotherapy and other therapeutic aids for fertility plus received specialised HypnoFertility training with its creator Lynsi Eastburn. Lynsi is the author of ‘Its Conceivable -Hypnosis for Fertility’ and has appeared on national and international radio and tv talking about her work helping clients improve their fertility. Through my research, training, and experience with clients I have developed a treatment protocol that includes hypnotherapy, counselling, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and TFT (thought field therapy). I see couples together or on their own. In our initial sessions there is a questionnaire to complete and we will discuss the clients lifestyle as well as any previous pregnancy related traumas or fears and worries that may relate to pregnancy and becoming a parent. Often there can be some kind of trauma like previous miscarriage or abortion as well as some fears like fear of hospitals, needles, vomiting, pain, and putting on weight, as well as worries about being a good enough parent. These traumas, fears and worries need to be resolved to aid conception. I may use TFT (a technique that involves tapping various acupuncture points on the body, excellent for resolving trauma, fears and worries) and/or Hypnotherapy to help resolve the trauma, fears and worries. Sometimes the fears and worries are unconscious and would need to be discovered, explored and resolved through hypnotherapy.
I also use CBT (a talking therapy that focuses on how you think about the things going on in your life) to examine any unhelpful thinking habits and beliefs the clients may have (i.e. ‘I am never going to get pregnant’). The way that we think affects how we feel and has a powerful effect on us and it is well researched that negative thinking impacts our mood and can lead to depression 15 and that people suffering with depression have lower pregnancy rates 16. CBT is a well researched and documented therapy for reducing depression 17. I teach clients self hypnosis techniques to help reduce their stress and aid relaxation and give them a recording to listen to at home so that they practice these techniques on a daily basis. I also use positive visualisation to help them to think and feel more positive. If clients need to stop smoking, or lose or put on weight we will work with this too. A pioneer in the field of using hypnotherapy for fertility Dr. Peter Quinn used hypnotherapy on a group of females who had problems conceiving for between 2 and 12 years, 65% of these women went on to have full term successful pregnancies 18. Hypnotherapy and other mind body techniques can often be overlooked when couples are having problems conceiving but the research shows that Hypnotherapy can be remarkably helpful at naturally aiding couples to conceive. I know from my work with fertility clients how lovely it is when a client tells me that they are feeling so much more relaxed and positive about becoming pregnant and it’s an even better feeling when I hear the news that they are pregnant :).
Marcia Tillman from Life Clinics is a Hypnotherapist and Counsellor working at Abbey Place Clinic, Faversham, Kent. At her Kent clinic she sees clients from across Kent including Canterbury and Sittingbourne, and she sees clients from London and across the UK. She works alongside fertility acupuncture expert Michelle Mulliss from Kent Acupuncture, they work together to naturally aid clients wanting to conceive.
Abbey Place Clinic is perfect placed close to the town centre, public transport and local car parks. Only 1 hours train journey from London.
Tags: hypnotherapy, fertility, pregnancy, faversham, kent, hypnotherapist, counsellor, paul mckenna, canterbury, london, uk, acupuncture, cbt, counselling, hypnofertility, conception, weight, smoking,
References (all working on 1st December 2013)
Other useful links
You can find some tips on eating healthier and nutritional support for fertility at