Are you experiencing the horrible pains of pregnancy leg cramps?
You’re not alone. It’s a very common symptom of pregnancy that affects many women.
What’s causing it?
As your baby grows (and grows…) it puts a lot of strain on the muscles in your lower back and legs. This also puts pressure on some of the blood vessels in your legs.
There’s also been evidence to show that it can be related to diet, specifically being deficient in some vitamins and minerals.
A lack of fluid in your system can also be the culprit.
What can I do to prevent them?
- Stretch it out through the day.
Try standing with your toes on the top of a step and your heels hanging over the edge. Slowly lift yourself up and down, allowing your calf muscles to have a good stretch.
Try not to stand up for too long – pregnancy is a great time in your life to request a chair.
When seated, try not to cross your legs.
- Try some supplements
You may be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals such as calcium, potassium or magnesium. Be sure to take your pregnancy vitamins, and if that doesn’t change anything speak with your doctor to see if they recommend grabbing a supplement to help with the cramps.
- Keep your fluid levels up through the day
Dehydration is a major cause of cramps, so be sure to drink water throughout the day. You can always taper it off closer to bedtime to avoid multiple trips to the loo.
- Have a warm bath or shower before bed
The hot water relaxes the muscles. Massage can also help in a similar way (see if you can convince your partner that it’s for the good of the baby).
- Try to keep your feet up
When you are at home, try your best to put your feet up when you can (easier said than done with kids to look after!). So after dinner, pop your feet on a cushion while watching TV. In bed, try sleeping with your feet on a pillow.
- Try support stockings from the chemist
They can help regulate the blood flow in your legs, reduce swelling and also (hopefully) cramps. You can also try throwing on a heat pack.
- How can I make them stop if I get one?
Stretch out or massage the muscle that is cramping – although it might hurt at first it can eventually make the cramp go away.
You can also try walking around for a few minutes to help get the blood pumping through your legs.
If the pain is severe or constant, or you notice swelling, it’s best to consult with your doctor.
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