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April 03, 2021

Seriously Helpful Tips To Prevent Painful Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

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If you’re getting leg cramps during pregnancy, you’re probably in the 2nd or 3rd trimester,  and it’s probably mostly at night that they creep up on you, right?

Why Are You Getting Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Leg cramps are just one of the many features of pregnancy. You’re likely to get them in your calves, your feet, or both. Leg cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that usually go away after a few minutes, but even so, they’re painful and uncomfortable.

Doctors are not 100% clear on the reasons why we’re getting leg cramps. Some medical professionals are saying it could be due to:

  • Changes in blood circulation;
  • Stress on your leg muscles from carrying extra weight;
  • Your growing baby putting pressure on the blood vessels and nerves that go to your legs.
  • Low calcium, or a change in the way that your body processes calcium, may be causing leg cramps during pregnancy.

But as painful and irritating as they are, it is empowering to know that you can take steps to minimize, or hopefully prevent them.

How To Prevent Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

  1. Stretch Your Calf Muscles

Stretching before bed will not take long, and it might help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy.

As you will see from the video, stretching your calf muscles can be done without any equipment. You can even do some exercises while you’re in bed.

  1. With Your Doctor’s Approval, Get More Magnesium

Research is still limited but it suggests that more magnesium may help to prevent leg cramps during your pregnancy.  Your doctor may suggest:

  • Eating more magnesium-rich foods like dried fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, etc.
  • Taking a magnesium supplement;
  • Getting a magnesium spray for your calves and/or feet.

  1. Drink Enough Water

By keeping your muscles hydrated, you might be able to prevent leg cramps during pregnancy.

You can train yourself to get into the habit of drinking enough water. A helpful tip is to keep a bottle of water close to you all the time. That way, you can track how you are doing.

By drinking more water, you’re going to be running to the bathroom more often, but this is what you want because there are so many benefits to drinking water. To know that you’re thoroughly hydrated, your urine should be clear or light yellow in color. (Darker yellow urine is usually a sign that you’re not drinking enough water.)

  1. Stay Active

Prenatal exerciseGetting enough exercise might help prevent those leg cramps during pregnancy.

Once you’ve gotten the okay from your doctor, try to exercise regularly. Sure, there are limitations but there are lots of exercises you can do during pregnancy, like walking, running, yoga, etc.

  1. Don’t Sit With Your Legs Crossed

Leg cramps can be attributed to sitting with your legs crossed or sitting in other ways that may hamper blood flow. Also, do not sit or stand in the same position for a long time. Move around as much as possible.

  1. Rest With Your Legs Elevated

how to ease leg cramps during pregnancyPutting your feet up whenever possible is a good way to keep your vascular system healthy during your pregnancy, and it will do wonders for pregnancy leg cramps. Place a few pillows on the bed (or couch) to help prop your feet up just slightly above the level of your heart. This ensures that the blood and fluid return to your heart, thereby relieving your lower extremities.

  1. Wear Supportive Stockings

Compression socks or compression leggings are really helpful if you’re suffering from leg cramps and/or swelling in your legs and feet. Some moms even use them after their delivery.

  1. Get Enough Calcium

According to WebMD, all women should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, especially if they’re pregnant. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt are great sources of calcium. You can also eat dark, leafy green vegetables. They too have calcium but in much smaller amounts.

  1. Take A Bath/ Shower Before Bed

take a bath to help relieve leg crampsMost of us get these leg cramps at night, so it’s a great idea to take a warm bath or hot shower before bed to relax your leg muscles. If that’s not an option, you could also put a warm towel or hot water bottle under your calves (while you’re lying or sitting down).

If your problem is foot cramps, an Epsom Salt foot bath can do wonders!


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