A sharp, shooting pain in the middle of the night that jolts you out of the bed is unnerving not to mention painful. Most pregnant women go through these leg cramps that hit the calf, thigh or foot; the cause is not definite but there are probable possibilities as to why it happens more often during your pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses and your girth grows, so does the pain. It is most common during the final trimester and in the nights.
What causes them during pregnancy..
- It seems to run in families
- It seems to happen more during pregnancy due to circulation changes
- It seems to happen because the weight of the uterus presses on the leg blood vessels
- It seems to happen because of muscle fatigue which you are prone to during pregnancy
- It seems to happen because your body is deficient in minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium
- It seems to happen due to lack of salt in your diet
- It seems to happen when you are getting too much phosphorus which then interferes with calcium absorption.
When you get a leg cramp attack..
- When you get a cramp attack, stretch your leg out heel first, and gently flex your toes. It may hurt for a while and this pain may take a while before it subsides.
- You can also use a hot water bottle on the affected area
- Get your partner to massage your calf vigorously straight away
What you can do to prevent leg cramps during pregnancy
- Studies show that multivitamin with minerals and magnesium is helpful, take one that is recommended by your doctor.
- Do some simple exercises during the day to keep your circulation going
- Avoid sitting or standing with your legs crossed for long periods of time
- Exercise your calf muscles by stretching your legs several times a day, and before you go to bed
- Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes when you sit to have your meals or watch TV
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
- Have warm baths to relax the muscles before bedtime
- Try to go for walks everyday unless you have been advised not to
- Try not to get too tired; take rests by making time to relax
Constant muscle tenderness, pain or swelling in your leg is not the annoying cramp but could be something more serious. Have your doctor assess the pain; it could be DVT which will require immediate attention.