4 Tips for Improving Your Blood Circulation During Pregnancy
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Question of the day: How can you improve your blood circulation during pregnancy?
How is blood circulation related to prenatal health?
Before you were pregnant, your blood had a pretty clear path from your heart, around your body, and back. During your pregnancy, your body — and, more specifically, your blood circulation — takes on the added role of providing oxygen and nutrients to the fetus as well as to you. That extra demand can impact your body’s ability to pump blood, increasing your heart rate and slowing blood circulation.
Slow circulation, along with fluid retention, can cause swelling in the face, hands, legs, ankles, and feet. Varicose veins (enlarged and raised veins you may see on your legs or feet) are another sign of poor circulation.
The more your baby grows, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood to support both you and the fetus. That’s why it’s so important to care for your heart health during your pregnancy.
How can you improve your blood circulation during pregnancy?
Here are our top four tips for improving blood circulation during pregnancy:
Tip #1: Let’s get physical!
You don’t have to be a pro athlete to improve your blood circulation through exercise. Even 30 minutes of light activity each day can help support your heart during your pregnancy. Try these pregnancy-friendly exercises:
If you work at a desk job, try to get up and walk around for at least 5 minutes every hour. And don’t forget to stretch before and after you exercise for a bonus circulation boost!
Tip #2: Embrace your inner Spice Girl.
No, we’re not talking about hosting a karaoke night (though that’s not a bad idea)! Adding certain foods and seasonings to your diet is a great way to improve your blood flow. Try spicing up your meals with these ingredients:
- Spicy seasonings, like cayenne and chili peppers: By stimulating your body to release compounds that expand your blood vessels, these spices may help lower blood pressure and increase circulation.
- Dark chocolate: The polyphenols in dark chocolate can help your body release nitric oxide. This compound helps widen blood vessels and promote circulation.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Avocados, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and other foods with omega-3 fatty acids can help relax blood vessels and promote blood flow.
- Lycopene-rich fruits and veggies: Foods high in lycopene (think: tomatoes, watermelon, and other bright red foods) may improve the function of blood vessels, helping with circulation.
Tip #3: It’s all about the elevation.
When you’re pregnant, leg elevation can be a lifesaver. It can help improve blood circulation and help reduce fluid retention (aka swelling) in your legs and feet.
Pro tip: Try bringing a small collapsible stool when you leave the house to work or visit a friend. That way, you’re never stuck searching for somewhere to rest your feet!
Tip #4: Relaaaaaax.
You’ll like this one. Prenatal massage can be a great way to improve blood flow during pregnancy — not to mention the added benefits of reducing stress, anxiety, joint pains, and muscle aches. Your body has to work overtime during pregnancy. If you’re able, take a day for yourself and get pampered!
Poor circulation is a common issue during pregnancy. We hope these tips help you improve your blood flow and reduce any discomfort you may be feeling!
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