Dealing with Leg Cramps during Pregnancy

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.

Dealing with Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

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.

Lisa x

13 thoughts to “Dealing with Leg Cramps during Pregnancy”

  1. Oh, I used to get terrible leg cramps – they were so painful and used to really frighten me (I don’t know why, but cramps always make me feel panicky!). I read that you should eat more bananas, which figures with the magnesium! Great tips!

  2. Oh I had this terribly – that and sciatica and agree that stretching out your legs is an absolute must!

  3. So much advice – I really wish I had been able to read this when I was pregnant, as I really suffered from leg cramps!

  4. Thankfully I only had this a couple of times while I was pregnant, but I’d wake up in agony, it was awful! I hope these tips work for you and they ease, I can’t imagine dealing with it all the time. Pregnancy really does put your body through it!

  5. Ouch leg cramps! I never suffered with leg cramps in either of my pregnancies thankfully. I hope these help you get some sleep and ease the pain.

  6. I had terrible leg cramps during pregnancy too. I remember working my way through all those tips! Except baths, I hate taking baths, lol.

  7. A few people have said this. Unfortunately I’m allergic to bananas. I’ve also been told to drink tonic water which is disgusting!

  8. Yeah I always think I’m a bit weird that I’m not keen on having a bath. It takes ages to run and then I get in and after about five minutes I’m bored and want to get out ?

  9. I am so lucky to far I haven’t had these previous pregnancies or in this one they sound awful and common as it turns out. Great to be aware of it. Thanks for linking to Bumps and Babies. Hope to see you tomorrow. #bumpsbabies

  10. I’ve never suffered from leg cramps during pregnancy. I’ve suffered from pretty much everything else, but not the dreaded cramps! I sleep with my feet on a pillow anyway, so maybe that’s how I’ve managed to escape them.

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