Experiencing leg cramps during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester is very common. Nearly half of all pregnant women get muscle spasms in their legs, with cramping more frequent during the evening.
Why do women get leg cramps during pregnancy?
No one can be sure why pregnant women suffer from leg cramps. There is a possibility that the leg muscles of pregnant women are tired from carrying around all of their extra weight. They may get worse as women’ expanding uterus puts the pressure on the blood vessels which return blood from the legs to the heart and the nerves leading from the trunk to the legs
Leg cramps often begin to bother women during their second trimester and may be aggravated as the pregnancy progresses and the belly gets bigger. While these cramps usually occur during the day, some women may notice the cramps mostly at night. Nighttime cramps can stop women from having a good sleep.
How can I save myself from leg cramps?
Here are some tips to help you stay away from leg cramps:
- Do not stand or sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time.
- Stretch your calf muscles frequently all day and several times before going to sleep.
- Rotate your ankles and shake your toes when you sit, have dinner, or watch TV.
- Take a walk every day, unless you are advised not to exercise.
- Avoid getting too tired.
- Lie down on your left side to increase the circulation to and from your legs.
- Stay hydrated all day by drinking water regularly.
- Have a warm bath before going to bed to relax your muscles.
Some doctors believe taking a magnesium supplement in addition to prenatal vitamins may protect pregnant women from cramps. However, others say that magnesium supplements have no substantial impact on the frequency or severity of leg cramps during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement during pregnancy.
Leg cramps are thought to be a sign that you need more calcium. Though it is necessary to get enough calcium, there is no clear proof that taking extra calcium will help avoid leg cramps during pregnancy.
What’s the best way to relieve a cramp?
If you feel a cramp, immediately straight your calf muscles. Stretch your leg and heel first, then lightly bend your toes back toward your shins. It might hurt a bit at first, but it will ease the spasm and the pain will gradually disappear.
You can relieve the cramp by massaging the muscle or warming it with a bottle of warm water. Take a walk around for a few minutes may be helpful, too.
Call your doctor if your muscle pain persists or there is swelling, redness, or tenderness in your leg, or the area feels warm to your touch. These may be symptoms of a blood clot, which needs instant medical attention. Blood clots are moderately rare, but they can become more popular during pregnancy.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: December 26, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
Leg cramps during pregnancy. http://www.babycenter.com/0_leg-cramps-during-pregnancy_250.bc. Accessed December 20, 2016.