Enhancement of Venous and Arterial Circulation During Pregnancy and Athletics

The circulatory system is incredibly important for giving us life. The circulatory system is responsible for transporting fluids, nutrients, fats, lymphatic products, immuno-products, oxygen, and waste products to and from cells.

 

The heart is the most valuable player within the circulatory system.

The heart is a two pump team that works through two circuits; the pulmonary and systemic; however, there are four chambers of the heart.

 

The pulmonary circuit pumps blood from the right ventricle of the heart through the lungs to the left atrium. The blood coming from the pulmonary circuit becomes oxygenated by the lungs. Oxygenated blood is important because our cells require oxygen for cellular respiration; also known as life. 

 

The systemic circuit pumps blood from the left ventricle to the right atrium, but its a long road for the oxygenated blood before the blood gets to the right atrium and typically by the time that the blood reaches the right atrium, it is in need of oxygen again. The oxygenated blood generally flows through arteries. Arteries carry oxygenated blood on the left side of the body by way of branches. The main arterial branches consist of the pulmonary veins and the systemic arteries known as the left ventricle, the left atrium, the coronary arteries, the aorta, the abdominal aorta, the, the trunk, the hepatic artery, the digestive tract, the renal arteries, the kidneys, the descending arteries, the pelvis, and lower limbs. The closed circuit nature of the circulatory system is important because it allows for blood recycling and re-oxygenation by way of the lungs via the pulmonary arteries.

 

I have attached a diagram to enhance understanding of the circulatory system. 

 

 

 

It is suggested that when a woman becomes pregnant, she considers wearing compression tights. By wearing compression tights or socks, the mother helps her blood return from her lower extremities to her heart. There is extra pressure built up in the pelvic region during pregnancy, this can affect the fluidity of the iliac veins, which are located in the pelvic region. In order to accommodate both the venous system and the growing baby, it can be helpful to wear compression socks or tights. Wearing compression gear will help the veins carry deoxygenated back to the heart by way of the tributaries. By adding compression technology, an individual will help to enhance the exchange between the arterioles and the venules in the capillary region by helping keep a more regulated pressure. Regulation of pressure is important when considering the venous bounce back to the heart. 

 

Many people do not realize that the calf muscle, the gastrocnemius, acts as a musculovenous pump. The gastrocnemius is known as the peripheral heart because it brings the blood up from the feet and helps to stimulate the entire circulatory system. Again, by wearing compression socks, you help to alleviate some of the pressure irregularities caused by external pressures such as pregnancy or athletic exertion. 

 

Many athletes are interested in improving their circulation; especially during athletic competition. Endurance athletes are concerned with their capillary bounce back, as with endurance efficiency is everything. Marathon runners know that running 26.2 miles can really impact the venous system by means of gravity and force. In a marathon, your heart is going full force for about four hours. Any extra help is greatly appreciated by the body; and by giving your body an extra protective layer of support and intergral pressure can be beneficial for enhanced circulatory performance. Hydration is also an essential part of this equation; in order to have optimal circulation the body must be properly hydrated. 

 

Another interesting thing to note about the circulatory system is that the only organ entered by a vein is the liver, the site of detoxification. All other organs are entered by arteries. It is important to keep the hepatic portal vein, the liver vein, clear of obstruction because it is the primary way of detoxification. Optimal circulation is also incredibly important for lymph circulation. Muscular contraction; exercise,  helps prevent circulatory obstruction and helps to move the lymphatic system along. By allowing a free flow of the circulatory system, the lymphatic system and cardiovascular, the immune systems are most productive. 

 

References: 

 

Eltigani, H. (2018). The Circulatory System [Powerpoint]. Tempe, AZ: SCNM.

 

Weber, S., Schneider, K. T., Bung, P., Fallenstein, F., Huch, A., & Huch, R. (1987, June). Effects of compression stockings on blood circulation in late pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3623042

 

Jones, R. H., & Carek, P. J. (2008, December 01). Management of Varicose Veins. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1201/p1289.html

 

Ochalek, K., Pacyga, K., Curyło, M., Frydrych-Szymonik, A., & Szygula, Z. (2017, June). Risk Factors Related to Lower Limb Edema, Compression, and Physical Activity During Pregnancy: A Retrospective Study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28346850

 

Brooten, D. A., Brown, L. P., Hollingsworth, A. O., Tanis, J. L., & Donlen, J. (n.d.). A comparison of four treatments to prevent and control breast pain and engorgement in nonnursing mothers. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6553246

Please reload