Many changes are made to the circulatory system when a woman becomes pregnant. Having proper blood flow is so vital because it not only affects mommy, but it also affects the baby growing inside of her.
Pregnant women's blood volume can increase up to 50% and their blood pressure even changes throughout their pregnancy. Blood pressure typically drops in the the second trimester and rises in the third. These changes can cause discomfort like headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Improper blood circulation can not only cause these discomforts for mommy but can potentially cause problems in the placenta and umbilical cord which can effect the fetus' growth.
Below I have listed a few yoga poses that can help blood circulation during pregnancy. Please use caution and always listen to your body. If something feels too uncomfortable, it is best to stop or use modifications.
This pose gives you the same benefits as if you were to wear compression hose during pregnancy. Maternity compression hose are made to help circulation and prevent any swelling in your legs and ankles. Sitting on your knees with your weight on your calves, provides the same type of pressure that maternity hose do. The pressure slows down the blood flow to prevent blood from pooling in your legs and helps that blood return to the heart in a healthy manner.
This is a modification for camel pose. The full pose is to grab your heels behind you, but when you are pregnant you want to be careful to not overstretch the front of your abdomen. This pose is great for stretching the front side of your hips and the top of your thighs which become 'weak spots' during pregnancy. Also, most of our day can be spent sitting or hunched over. This pose helps switch things up a bit and creates a stretch in the opposite direction than what our body is used to.
Some twists aren't safe during pregnancy, but this one is a great one. As baby grows, a lot of movement happens to create room, which can cause pinching of the nerves and also can prevent blood from flowing as freely as it did before. This can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Twists are great because they open up areas in your back and hips that cannot be touched any other way.
Another way to help improve circulation in the body is to simply get moving. This move is one of my favorites to do during pregnancy. Leaning back on your elbows (or using a pillow) and lifting one leg at a time can get the blood flowing in your hips and lower back. This can help create heat and pump the blood to get it back to the heart.
Another way to help get the blood back to the heart easily is to elevate your legs during the day. Whether your sitting or laying down, rest your feet above your hips and use the force of gravity to your advantage.
EXTRA TIP: After the 20 week mark, avoid laying on your back. Laying on your back can put pressure on a vein called the vena cava, which runs from your lower back to your heart. The weight of your belly can obstruct the blood flow which can cause problems for you and your baby. To avoid this, simply lay on your left side instead of your back.
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