As a pregnant woman retains more water due to her need for more blood volume, circulation can become an issue. Often times, especially in the third trimester, many women retain water in their lower legs and ankles.
If we imagine the blood supply to be like a river and we wanted to improve water flow through that river, we wouldn't just focus on a small segment of that river would we? Of course not, we need to think about that river as a whole system; Where is the water source? What changes can we make to help water flow easier?
Skin brushing is a traditional practice used to enhance lymphatic circulation. A few times a week, I practice skin-brushing to move the lymphatic fluid from my extremities back toward my heart. As I progress through the rest of this pregnancy, this practice will be so helpful for minimizing ankle swelling as well as improving general circulation to the muscles of the lower leg. On that note, if I do experience any ankle swelling, we have a MarcPro electrical stimulation machine on stand-by. However, I am in my third trimester now and haven't yet experienced it. Prevention is key.
Contrast hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to promote circulation and to rebalance the nervous system. I take a warm bath with lavender essential oil 1-2 times per week with my partner to simply relax and recover from the day. If I feel myself getting too hot, I'll take a cold shower then get back in, always ending these rounds with cold water. When I shower in the mornings, most days I end my shower on cold to help stimulate blood flow. When possible, we try to get out and soak in our local (freezing- 54 degree) rivers which is always so refreshing and rejuvenating! To me, there's nothing else that makes me feel more alive than contrast hydrotherapy.
In my personal opinion, movement is a cure for just about everything: aches, pains, stagnant blood, etc. For my post on movement during pregnancy, click here.
Warm and Spicy foods
In Eastern cultures, it is highly encouraged to eat warming foods, especially when pregnant or postpartum. As I enter my third trimester, we are also transitioning into Fall so I'm making a solid effort to include foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili peppers, soups, broths, and kimchi in my diet regularly. I like to think I get double points for making foods that have all of the above ingredients ;)
If you struggled with increasing blood flow during your pregnancy, what methods have you found helpful? Share in the comments below!