They don’t say laughter is the best medicine for no good reason, with research and anecdotal evidence suggesting that a bit of a giggle might help conception along, too!
Send in the clowns
The idea that laughter can lead to positive health outcomes is often touted, but the evidence-based science-y jury is still out.
While we don’t know 100 percent how the laugher/health equation works, it’s suggested that laughter may decrease the production of so-called stress hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, leading to improved immunity and other positive health benefits.
One study suggests one of those benefits might be successful IVF treatment. The study looked at a group of pregnant women, some of whom were entertained by a professional “medical clown” – performing a routine of jokes, tricks, and magic at each woman’s bedside – shortly after their embryos were implanted, and others who weren’t.
Researchers found that 36 percent of the clowned-to women became pregnant, compared to just 20 percent of women who were denied the funnies, post-implant.
Study lead, Dr Shevach Friedler, who is based at Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre in Israel said creating an optimal emotional and physical state during and after transfer seemed to be important to IVF success.
“Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are exceptionally stressed. So I thought that this intervention could be beneficial for them at the crucial moments after embryo transfer,” he told Reuters.
“During recovery from the procedure, each woman had a 15-minute visit from the clown, who performed a specific routine created by Friedler — who has studied movement and mime — and a colleague,” Reuters reports.
Dr Friedler sounds like a multi-passionate and medically gifted creative. Penchant for mime! Who knew?!
Writer and mum Jamie Sumner thinks there’s something in this clowning-for-babies theory, too. Writing for Mom.Me, she revealed that a hearty chortle after an IVF treatment resulted in one baby… and then (later) two more!
She theorised that laughter may have contributed to the successful conception. Well… laughter, Paul Simon with a hearty side of David Brent.
“When I did finally end up pregnant with my oldest, it was a medical marvel. But it was also a personal marvel, one helped by my own doctor, who had the humor of a clown without the actual clown status,” she wrote.
“When I went back two years later for Round 2, that same doctor walked into the transfer wearing a tie-dyed head scarf, cranked up the Paul Simon and gently plopped two embryos into my uterus. Then we went home and laughed our way through the first season of ‘The Office,” Jamie says.
Jamie then found out she was pregnant with TWINS! Case closed. Kind of.
So what can we learn from this still-patchy info on clowning ourselves into pregnancy? Perhaps the fact that it’s really important that we make women feel as comfortable and cared-for as possible been undergoing IVF treatments.
And if they’re not feeling that way, to work a little harder at making them feel supported, informed and empowered.
Send in the clowns!