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How To Deal With Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

ByJerni Camposano-GomezJune 27, 2023
Pregnant woman having leg cramps
Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing — and then it’s suddenly not, no thanks to raging hormones that are all over the place and the increasing amount of anxiety you feel as you navigate this chapter in your life.
There will be pregnancy discomforts along the way as you grow a human being inside of you. You may suddenly feel painful spasms in your legs, and dealing with it can affect your mood or even your sleep quality.
So what are leg cramps?
Leg cramps are one of the most common discomforts felt during pregnancy. They are painful involuntary muscle contractions in the calf, foot, or both.
When do they happen?
Most expecting mamas experience leg cramps during their second and third trimesters.
Although you can experience them all throughout the day, leg cramps are most common at night so that can be an additional source of stress for an already sleep-deprived pregnant mama.
Why do they happen?
Nothing is certain as to why expecting women experience leg cramps. But there are several theories that seem to cause them. These include pregnancy hormones that can affect blood circulation, weight gain from carrying those extra baby weight, dehydration, pregnancy fatigue, having too little calcium or magnesium in your diet, or even just simply sitting in one position for an extended period of time.
How can you prevent them from happening?
You can’t totally prevent leg cramps. But you can do the following to reduce the frequency of them happening:
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that includes food rich in calcium and magnesium.
  • Have a regular physical activity that’s approved by your doctor.
  • Straighten your legs. Do not sit in one position for too long.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Choose shoes that are comfortable and provide good support.
  • Don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins.
How to ease the pain of leg cramps?
As they can last for a few days, here are some remedies to help manage the discomfort:
  • Gently stretch muscles. You can try walking around to stretch your calf. Stretch before bedtime.
  • Apply a heat pad to the affected area to loosen up the cramped muscle.
  • Try performing a self-massage for 30 minutes to a minute.
  • But you can also opt for a prenatal massage with an experienced therapist.
  • See a doctor if the pain is persistent and severe, especially when there’s swelling.

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