Leg Cramps during Pregnancy

Why do I get leg cramps during pregnancy?

Leg cramps are a common problem for pregnant women. They’re caused by the increasing weight of the baby which results in the growth of the uterus. This puts a lot of pressure on your legs. This pressure combined with the hormone progesterone affects the tone of the muscles. Deficiency of certain nutrients like calcium and magnesium also result in leg cramps.

Tips to Prevent Leg Cramps

  • Try not to sit or stand in the same position for long time
  • Do not sit with your legs crossed as this decreases the blood circulation in your legs
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking lots of water or juice during the day
  • Stretch your calf muscles daily
  • When you feel a leg cramp coming on, straighten your leg and heel
  • After straightening, try to wiggle your toes
  • Regular daily exercise can help, consult with your health care provider
  • When you suffer from a leg cramp, try to walk around for a few minutes because it will help loosen the muscles
  • Gentle massages can help cramps
  • Hot compresses can also relax the muscles and relieve the pain
  • Take warm baths before going to bed
  • Eat potassium rich foods like bananas
  • Make sure to eat foods rich in calcium such as dairy products, along with fish, almonds, green leafy vegetables and tofu
  • Avoid soft drinks, snacks and processed meats
  • Try sleeping on the left side as this improves the blood circulation
  • When you are tired, take a rest and try elevating your legs
  • Wear supportive stockings

When should you consult your health care provider?

Leg cramps will eventually end on their own but talk to your health care provider if:

  • The pain is frequent and very severe
  • There is redness and tenderness around the area of the cramps
  • There is warmth and swelling on your legs, along with cramps

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