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Tips To Prevent Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

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Tips To Prevent Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Are the sudden leg cramps during pregnancy keeping you up at night? You’re not alone. Leg cramps or charley horses are one of the most common discomforts experienced by pregnancy pregnant women. These painful cramps, radiating through the calves and moving up the legs tend to become worse and frequent in the third trimester of pregnancy. The pain is so bad that it could even wake you up from the deep sleep. But we’re here to give you some comfort during your gestation period. Below we have listed a few tips to help you handle leg cramps during pregnancy. But before that let’s read what causes leg cramps during pregnancy.

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Causes Of Leg Cramps During Pregnancy:

Leg cramps or spasms occur when the muscles suddenly tighten and begin to hurt. It’s pretty unclear what’s the cause these bothersome spasms during pregnancy, but it’s believed that a number of factors play a role in it.  For instance,

  • Added pregnant weight on the leg muscles
  • The expanding abdomen, uterus, and the growing baby put excess pressure on the circulatory system and blood vessels that go to our legs. So the lack of blood reaching the leg muscles could be the reason behind leg cramping.
  • A diet with excess of phosphorus and short of calcium, potassium and magnesium
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Dehydration
  • If the baby’s head presses on the nerves, you can get leg cramps

Exercises To Get Rid Of Leg Cramps During Pregnancy:

There are plenty of ways to treat leg cramps during pregnancy. A few gentle stretching exercises can stop the leg cramps in the calf muscles as well as tone the muscles and improve your core strength. Here are a few exercises to perform when you get leg cramps.

Exercise 1:

  • Stand at the arm’s length from a wall and place your hands on the wall for support.
  • Bend your left knee slightly and move your right foot a foot back, keeping it flat on the floor.
  • You’ll feel a stretch in the calf as you lean forward. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds and then perform the exercises with another calf.

Exercise 2:

  • Take two chairs and a scarf or towel. Sit on one chair and place your foot on the second one.
  • Wrap the scarf or towel around the ball of the foot and begin pulling the cloth towards you.
  • Stay in the position for 30 seconds. You’ll feel a stretch in the muscles of your calf.

Effective Tips To Prevent Leg Cramps During Pregnancy:

  1. Be Active:

Regular workout or just walking and swimming will keep the Charley horses while pregnant at bay.  One thing you need to remember is to stretch the legs before, and after any aerobic activity, you perform. Do not point your toes while you’re lying in bed or stretching. It can trigger another cramp. Instead, you need to flex your toes towards your knees. Neither should you lie down on your back as it will reduce the circulation in your legs. Rest with your legs elevated, taking help of pillows. It would be really helpful. You should even try to flex and release your foot ten times before sleeping.

  1. Drink Plenty Of Water:

To prevent leg cramps due to dehydration, drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water daily. A well-hydrated body will prevent muscle contraction and will help you sleep sound during your pregnancy. If water isn’t your thing, you can try milk, fresh fruit juice or sparkling water.

  1. Increase Your Nutrient Intake.

A sufficient intake of calcium-rich foods is necessary to support your and your baby’s muscles and bones. You should aim to drink 3 to 4 glasses of non-fat or low-fat milk daily. The non-dairy sources of calcium are salmon, tofu, and dark green leafy vegetables. Along with calcium-rich foods and drinks, it would also be smart to include calcium supplements in your diet.

A drop in magnesium and potassium can also lead to muscle spasm. So you need to meet your daily recommended amount of 4,700 mg of potassium and 350 to 360 mg of magnesium per day either by food or supplements.

  1. Avoid Standing Or Sitting For Long Periods:

Take regular breaks to stretch and walk if you have a desk job. While sitting, elevate your feet as often as you can. It will dispel the accumulation of fluid in your legs. Also, wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles when you’re sitting to eat dinner or watching television.

  1. Apply Heat To The Affected Area:

Apply heat bag or warm towel on the affected area as heat loosen the muscles and improve circulation. When you feel the tension easing, straighten your legs and flex the toes upwards. You should be able to stand up and walk around now. You can even take a warm bath before sleeping. It will soothe the stiff muscles.

  1. Get A Massage:

Massages are known for improving circulation and reducing swelling. So get a prenatal massage to prevent muscle spasms during pregnancy. If you are hiring a massage therapist, tell him or her beforehand that you’re pregnant. And don’t forget to verify that the therapist is a licensed prenatal massage therapist.

  1. Wear Proper Footwear:

Wear comfortable shoes and compression stockings while walking. Stockings will increase the blood circulation in the ankles and legs, and reduce swelling, thereby preventing leg cramps. Shoes will long counter are also helpful.

  1. Medications:

Acetaminophen could help ease the pain experienced due from leg cramp, but it would be better if you prevent it from happening in the first place. Also, you should consult your gynecologist before taking any out of prescription medicine.

When Should You Call The Doctor?

If your leg cramps are severe, frequent and disturb your sleep, talk to your doctor. Tenderness or swelling in your leg could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which there’s a blood clot in a vein in our body. DVT could be fatal and requires immediate attention.

How would you suggest our readers to prevent leg cramps during pregnancy? Share some of your tips in the comment section. It will help our readers.  

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