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During pregnancy, your blood volume doubles up to meet the requirements of your body to help the growth and development of the fetus, provide oxygen and nourishment to the baby and maintain optimum health. A dip in blood flow any time during pregnancy can in turn affect the development process of your baby. 'With increased blood volume in the body a mother's heart rate also increases and the veins relax to compensate for the same. The progesterone levels in the blood further relaxes the blood vessels more and saves the mother from suffering a bout of high blood pressure. However, the relaxed blood vessels can at time slow down the circulation in the body,' says Mansi Shah, physiotherapist, prenatal and postnatal fitness expert, Mumbai.
Drop in circulation wouldn't favour your pregnancy any better. So there are good reasons why you should boost your blood circulation during pregnancy. Here are three exercises that can help you do the same:
Muscle strengthening exercises
'Muscle strengthening exercises can help you up your circulation, because with exercising, as the muscles become stronger and gain enough strength they are more capable of pumping up blood against one's weight,' says Dr Shah. Here are few of these exercises that you can try by using low weight dumbbells to strengthen your upper body,
Work on your biceps: Hold one dumbbell in each hand and lock the elbows at waist level. Slowly lift one hand till you reach the elbow level keeping your hands parallel to the ground. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position. Repeat the same with the other hand. Do at least eight repetitions with each hand.
Do overhead extension: Hold dumbbells in each hand and bring them to your shoulder level with both arms being parallel to the ground. Pull both the hands over your head and hold for two seconds. Next bring them back to normal position, i.e., your resting position. Do at least six to eight reps.
Do triceps extension: Take a single dumbbell in both the hands. Then straighten your hands above the head bent at your elbow. Try pushing the dumbbell a little further and bring it back to the position. You can try doing a set of six to seven reps at a time.
Try leg extensions: To tone and strengthen your lower body do leg extensions with ankle weight bands tied to the ankle. 'Doing side raises and backward leg extension with ankle bands helps in strengthening the muscles and also boosting circulation in the lower body,' says Dr Shah.
Swimming is one of the best form of cardio exercises one can do during pregnancy. However, if you have never taken swimming lessons before it is better you don't try the same during your pregnancy. But if you have been a regular at the pool, you can continue as usual. 'Being a low impact exercise it also helps in proper breathing, building muscle tone and strengthening the entire body,' says Dr Shah. Apart from swimming, aqua exercises are also a way to improve one's circulation, 'Exercises done in the water are termed as assisted-resisted exercises, where the buoyancy takes up the body weight and is light on the joints of a pregnant woman,' informs Dr Shah.
Simple stretching exercises can do a great deal of good during pregnancy. 'Performing stretching exercises to relax the neck and the shoulder, soothes and calms the entire body. Neck and shoulder rotations help to mobilize the muscles and the joints in the area thereby improving circulation,' says Dr Shah. To mobilize the blood flow and various fluid movements in the lower body, do hip extensions and ankle rotations too.
Image courtesy:Getty Images
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