10 Easy and Effective Ways For New Moms to Improve Circulation-MainPhoto

With cool weather on its way, it’s important to consider the role that circulation plays in staying healthy during the winter months. Pregnancy, followed by you being on your feet all day with your baby can contribute to painful varicose veins forming, due to a lack of circulation in the legs. The cold weather causes even more circulation issues because when temperatures drop, the body reduces blood flow to the extremities as a way to keep the blood in the main arteries of the body. This may cause cold hands and feet, and make flu season even more difficult for you and your newborn.

Read Related: 5 Factors for Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss

Here are 10 easy and effective tips to optimize blood circulation; these are especially helpful for new moms.

  1. Get regular exercise. Any type of exercise that strengthens the “second heart”—the muscles of the calf and foot—is beneficial. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. Suggested activities include walking, running, swimming and bicycling.

  2. Wear graduated compression stockings. They may not be very sexy, but they’re sexier than varicose veins. Compression stockings act like an added layer of muscle, aiding the performance of the “second heart” and venous circulation.

  3. Monitor hormone intake. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy constrict blood vessels and can weaken vein valves and vein walls.

  4. Avoid prolonged sitting and standing. Rotate your ankles and feet whenever possible, walk for at least 10 minutes every hour, and point and flex your toes to promote leg vein circulation.

  5. Elevate your feet. Raise your feet 6 to 12 inches above your heart whenever possible, to assist circulation.

  6. Eat a high fiber, low salt diet. Salt makes you retain water and constipation, due to a lack of fiber, puts pressure on the venous system.

  7. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts a strain on the circulatory system.

  8. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Tight garments can restrict the flow of blood to and from the legs.

  9. Consider dietary supplements. Vitamins C and E act as antioxidants, which are good for circulation. Flavonoids, butcher’s broom, and Horse Chestnut Seed Extract (HCE50) improve venous circulation and decrease symptoms of venous disease.

  10. Avoid crossing your legs. Leg crossing constricts veins and increases venous pressure.

Dr. Luis Navarro is Director of The Vein Treatment Center, a comprehensive vein treatment facility in New York City.