Dealing with Leg Cramps during Pregnancy
Leg cramps during pregnancy is something that has bothered me during my first two pregnancies and now with my third so I thought I would share some tips on dealing with leg cramps during pregnancy. Some women complain about their bladders being the thing that wakes them up in the night, but for me it’s crippling leg and foot cramps.
The only thing that seems to get rid of the pain and foot spasms is to get up and stomp my feet on the floor. For the first time ever my calf muscles are tense like I’ve exercised loads and it’s been striking me during the day as well.
During the day I could cope with the cramps as I can get up and walk around which is never a bad thing as I work in an office I probably sit far longer than I should anyway, but it’s awful at night so I thought I would do a bit of research.
What causes leg cramps during pregnancy?
It’s not entirely clear why pregnant women suffer from leg and foot cramps, usually in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
It could be due to the additional weight that we carry round during pregnancy and then cramp up when you rest.
The pressure that your baby puts on the nerves and blood vessels that lead to and from your legs with changes to your circulation.
There is also a theory that your body becomes low in certains salts during pregnancy which can cause your muscles to cramp.
What can you do to prevent or ease cramps during pregnancy?
Stretching your Calf muscles – It’s thought that stretching your calf muscles before bed may help prevent leg cramps. Stand at arms length from a wall, put your hands on the wall in front of you and move your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold and stretch for about 30 seconds, being careful to keep your back straight and your hips forward. Don’t rotate your feet inward or outward and avoid pointing your toes. Repeat with the other leg.
Stay Active – Continuing to exercise during pregnancy is important ensuring that you seek advice from your fitness instructor or a doctor.
Make sure you stay hydrated – We should be trying to maintain our hydration levels anyway, but it’s always best to try harder during pregnancy. A good way to tell if you are drinking enough is by your urine. It should be light in colour. If it’s dark you should try to drink more.
Keeping your legs raised – When resting put a pillow under your legs to help maintain blood flow. At night put a pillow under your legs to keep them slightly raised.
Taking a Magnesium supplement – Only after seeking advice from your midwife. I take Pregnancy vitamins which contain Magnesium, but you can also try eating magnesium rich foods such as whole grains, beans, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Wearing sensible shoes – Boo but hey I’m not a first time mum so the days of walking around in massive heels are long gone. Supportive footwear (urgh) with heel support can help as a preventative.
Massage your calves – If you can reach!
Taking a bath – Before bed this can help relax the muscles and hopefully will aid a good or decent nights sleep.
Drinking Tonic Water – Tonic water contains quinine which can help eleviate cramp.
Did any of them work?
Well having given all of the above a go, it’s hard to tell which if any worked. Maybe it was a bit of everything, but it’s good to keep all of these things in mind if you are suffering with leg cramps which are pretty crap especially during the night.
I’m going keep going with all of the above as I definitely need my sleep, more so now that I’m growing a little person. I will keep you up to date with the leg cramps in my Pregnancy Diary Posts.