Are leg cramps during pregnancy normal?
In the last three months of pregnancy, you may find that you have more leg cramps. Leg cramps during pregnancy are perfectly normal and do not signify anything is wrong.
Why is This Happening?
There is no 100% scientifically proven reason why women experience leg cramps during pregnancy. The frequency of leg cramps seems to be higher during this time. There are various possible reasons why this occurs. One reason may be the extra weight you are carrying causes the cramping. Another reason could be the extra pressure your expanding middle puts on your blood vessels and nerves.
How Can I Alleviate the Cramps?
The very first thing to do is stretch your calf muscles. Do this by gently straightening your leg. Lead with your heel and flex your foot/toes towards you. Work through the initial pain and the spasm should eventually go away. You can also try applying a warm compress, walking or massaging the area. If you notice redness, numbing or tenderness that is persistent then its time to see your doctor as this may be something more serious.
What Can I Do to Prevent the Cramps?
Get plenty of calcium (three glasses of milk or supplement) and potassium (oranges or bananas.) Stretching you legs before going to bed can help relieve cramps. Avoid pointing your toes when stretching or exercising. You can also:
- avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time
- try not to stand for a long time
- perform stretching exercises throughout the day
- rotate your ankles periodically
- walk everyday to stretch the calf and leg muscles
- lie on your left side to improve the circulation in your legs
- take warm baths daily to help relax the muscles
- drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
- in addition to taking calcium supplements, take magnesium supplements