Meditation for Infertility: Our Favorite Apps and Programs
The absolute last thing you want when you’re dealing with the stress of trying to conceive is someone telling you to relax.
There’s not much that’s relaxing about trying to get pregnant — especially if your process includes infertility, pregnancy loss, or the need for alternative conception methods. And some parts are just begging for an anxiety attack. I’m looking at you, progesterone-in-oil shots.
So it seems like a cruel twist of fate that high stress hormones can negatively impact your ability to get pregnant.
Unfortunately, science seems to increasingly indicate that it’s true.
But instead of telling you to “just relax,” we’re going to point you to the best fertility meditations out there no matter what part of the journey you’re on.
If you’re new to meditation, be gentle with yourself and start slow. Don’t jump into a 30-minute meditation and expect to feel calm.
Start with some five or ten-minute meditations and pay attention to what works and doesn’t work for you. If the speaker’s voice grates on your nerves or the background music makes you feel twitchy, try something different.
And then let us know what you love so we can recommend it to another warrior who needs it. #thepowerofcommunity
When we asked the Juliet community for their favorite fertility meditations, Mindful IVF came up again and again. And it’s not because it’s the biggest meditation app out there. Mindful IVF is actually a tiny company started on a shoestring budget by an Irish acupuncturist.
Gordon Mullins wanted women to have supportive fertility meditations, so he set himself up in a room, surrounded himself with mattresses to improve the sound quality, and recorded some meditations.
And as it turns out, Gordon’s twelve plus years helping the infertility community have made him an excellent meditation guide. (He also has a YouTube channel.)
When you download the Mindful IVF app, you get 50 fertility meditations free, starting with 10 preparatory meditations for IVF. You can also purchase individual meditations from the Mindful IVF Plus program. These include topics like:
- Pre and post meditations
- Anxiety support meditations
- 2 week wait meditations
- Meditations for a donor cycle
- Frozen cycle meditations
Our community appreciates the variety. Erin (@littlesquish18 on Instagram) pointed out how great it is to have general meditations as well as daily content for whatever type of cycle you might be pursuing.
On Day 1 of the Prep 10 cycle (available for free to all users), Gordon introduces himself and then says, “I’m guessing that if you’re doing an IVF cycle, it’s been a tough few weeks. A tough few months. Or maybe even a tough few years.”
Right away, Gordon’s words and his gentle voice help you feel not just calmer but also seen and understood — something we all know is invaluable during this experience. And it’s not just on the meditations themselves. Gordon’s commitment to his listeners is strong. In fact, Lillian (@inconceivablyflagstaff on Instagram) told us that Mullins took time off his holiday vacation to unlock one of the meditation programs for her.
Gordon’s thoughtful meditations have also provided particularly helpful support to several members of our community during miscarriage.
Expectful Meditation & Sleep
You might be surprised to learn that the two fertility meditation programs our community raved about the most were both started by men. That’s right — the lovely Gordon of Mindful IVF. And Mark Krassner, the founder of Expectful.
Mark didn’t start Expectful for women who are trying to conceive. He started it for pregnant women, who — like his mother — struggled with anxiety and depression and needed more support than what was out there.
Mark moved on to a new role at Expectful — Chief Listening Officer — and it’s clear that they are listening. (The company is now headed up by Nathalie Walton.) When they decided to offer meditations for women trying to conceive, they didn’t just upload some new content. They went into CCRM Fertility centers and talked to patients so they could fully understand the challenges they faced.
Heidy (@weightingaroundchi on Instagram) told us that she’s “obsessed with” the Expectful app. “There are so many libraries, including Healing from Loss and TTC [and] amazing passages for IVF. It made the biggest difference with how I approached my injections and blood draws.”
And Amanda (@healing.and.hoping on Instagram) appreciates that the app has a healing journey option for warriors that have suffered losses.
One word of caution if you’re heading to the Expectful website or Instagram: they feature many photos of pregnant women and newborn babies. If you’re triggered by these types of images, sign up for Expectful directly from the app store on your phone and choose “preparing to conceive” from the menu options.
Expectful offers a 7-day free trial. After that, you can choose a one-year subscription for $60 or a monthly subscription for $9.99 per month.
Guided Meditations by Belleruth Naparstek
For those who prefer something a little more old school, Belleruth Naparstek has been creating guided meditation cds for decades. And let’s be clear: old school doesn’t mean out of touch. Belleruth is a celebrated social worker and author, and her meditations are calming and sensitive to the many nuances of the ttc journey.
Jen (@jen_halfnelson on Instagram and creator of these gorgeous fertility affirmation bracelets) told Juliet, “I wouldn’t have made it through infertility, pregnancy anxiety after loss, or birth without Belleruth Naparstek’s meditations.”
Belleruth offers four fertility meditations. Each is around 15 minutes long and is designed to provide general relaxation and support while addressing a specific part of the ttc process.
The first is designed to help you envision successful fertilization and parenthood. Belleruth says in the introduction that the imagery works whether fertilization will be inside or outside your body, whether for a biological or adopted child. However, she doesn’t recommend this particular meditation for people who don’t want to visualize fertilization or who may feel they’re at the end of their options for becoming a parent.
The second meditation provides general calming affirmations.
The third meditation is for general coping, respite, and relaxation. Belleruth notes that it could be useful to use during uncomfortable procedures or as a general de-stressor.
The fourth meditation provides support during grief. It’s for when you want some time out after a disappointing treatment cycle or if you’ve decided to stop trying altogether.
Her guided meditations for fertility are available for free on the Fertility & Reproductive Medicine Center page of the Washington University Physicians website. You can purchase a cd or download here.
Circle & Bloom
During my own journey through infertility and pregnancy loss, I relied heavily on Circle & Bloom. They were the only company doing fertility meditation at the time, and they’ve continued to grow their offerings since then.
Most of their programs offer a daily meditation for a specific type of cycle. So the day you transfer, you have a transfer meditation. The day you do your retrieval, you have a retrieval meditation. Newer apps are following this approach now, but Circle & Bloom was definitely the OG of daily fertility meditations.
I liked that they were able to combine relaxation with very specific visualizations of what was (hopefully) happening inside my body as my cycle progressed.
I sometimes listened to these meditations before, after or during a procedure. Mostly I listened right before bed, and the body scanning and visualization helped relax some of my anxiety so I could sleep.
They have generalized support programs as well as meditation programs for almost every fertility situation you could be in, including:
- Natural Cycle for Fertility Program
- IUI and IVF Program
- Frozen Embryo Transfer Program
- PCOS Fertility Program
- Egg and Embryo Donation Programs
- Miscarriage and Grieving Support Program
- TTC Partner Program
Their programs range from $9.99 to $59.99. You can get an introductory meditation free by signing up for their email list here.
Meditation with Josephine Atluri
No matter how well-researched or focused a meditation program is, you may be someone who needs a more personal touch. Perhaps the language they’re using doesn’t speak to you, or you’re having trouble finding a meditation that addresses your particular situation.
Josephine Atluri is a meditation and mindfulness coach who specializes in fertility mindfulness. She does individual, personalized meditations with clients during the most emotionally challenging times — right before retrievals and transfers or during the two week wait, and she offers short meditations on IGTV.
Josephine’s own experiences with IVF, miscarriage, adoption, and surrogacy give her a deep understanding of the ttc process and its many challenges.
Wendy (@makingbabyn_ on Instagram) participated in Josephine’s free 7-day meditation challenge, which helped her strengthen her practice. “She did daily, 5-minute meditations to help with stress, learn techniques, etc. I did it with a couple fellow warriors, and it helped keep me accountable and get in the habit,” says Wendy.
DIY Fertility Meditation
Of course, you don’t have to download an app or purchase a course to benefit from meditation while you’re trying to conceive.
If you enjoy exploring YouTube, you can find plenty of fertility meditations there. You will also get mindfulness and stress relief benefits from meditations that have nothing to do with the conception process. Fiona (@fitfertilitea on Instagram) listens to Jason Stephenson’s meditations for help falling asleep.
Wendy (@makinbabyn_ on Instagram) uses Peloton’s app for meditations about courage and acceptance. They’re not focused on fertility, but anyone going through the ttc process knows those topics are key.
If you’re someone who likes to move or be out in nature, walking meditation can be an excellent way to step away from the anxiety of the ttc journey. Sabrina (@ivf_baby_e on Instagram) finds that walking meditation calms her, especially when she’s listening to Taylor Swift’s most recent albums. (Juliet’s founder Heather is a big T Swift fan too!)
The most important thing to remember when you’re looking into fertility meditation is that it’s a tool to help you on your journey. If you hate meditating or you can never remember to do it, don’t beat yourself up. Find another way to de-stress. Maybe it’s a walking meditation like Sabrina’s. Maybe you have a nightly dance party in your kitchen or light a candle and journal about your feelings.
Remember: Someone telling you to relax is cruel. You finding a way to give yourself some calm and peace is the ultimate kindness.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Katie Taylor is a writer and content strategist. She lives in Richmond, Vermont with her wife, two kids (one she birthed, one she did not), and a dog. You can read more about her infertility journey here. You can find out more about her work here.