Exercises to Improve Circulation in Pregnancy
Your blood volume increases during pregnancy, and the high progesterone levels relax your blood vessels to prevent high blood pressure. However, the relaxed and slack vessels can slow down your circulation. In addition, the growing weight in your pelvic area can compress the veins reducing the circulation to your feet.
Sitting with your legs crossed (one leg over the other - not tailor style) causes pressure that interferes with circulation. Lying on your back with your legs raised to near-vertical heights can also interfere with circulation.
Regular physical activity helps to improve your circulation because the muscle movement helps push blood back to your heart. This can help minimize or prevent swelling in your hands and ankles. Here are some specific exercises you can try to improve your circulation.
Foot Rotations: Sitting on a chair or ball, lift one leg slightly and turn your foot in a circular motion 5 to 10 times in each direction. Put your foot back down and do the same on the other foot.
Tailor Sitting: Sitting cross legged on the floor rather than sitting on a soft chair or couch can help reduce pelvic congestion and improve your circulation.
Hip Sways: The muscle activity acts like a pump helping circulation. Try swaying to music or belly dancing.
Pelvic Rocking: Moving your pelvis while on all fours helps to readjust the contents of the pelvic cavity, temporarily improving circulation.
Massage: The alternating squeezing and relaxation of massage acts like a pump to keep the body's fluids flowing. Try massaging your legs while sitting, or carefully while standing. Massage up and down your leg from ankle to the top of the thighs, kneading both the front and back of the legs.
Bridge: Lie on the floor or recline against a ball, with your knees bent. Slowly raise your pelvis off the floor. Hold for a few seconds, slowly lower. Repeating this exercise can help reduce the pelvic congestion and activates the abdominal and glute muscles to improve circulation.