what to do about those annoying leg cramps during pregnancy

Here we go again…the leg cramps (feel like Charley horses) that left me down on my knees and in tears in the middle of the grocery aisle once and so many times painfully kept me up in the middle of the night during my last pregnancy, are BACK! Last time I sort of dealt with it and before I knew it…I delivered Jai and forgot they even existed. But this time, I decided to do my research as soon I experienced the very first cramp last week just as I was falling back to sleep after yet another trip to the bathroom and here’s what I have learned so far from what I’ve read online and from talking with my OB-GYN.

Tips on controlling leg cramps

No one really knows why leg cramps affect so many women during pregnancy, especially during the second trimester.

Reasons that some think cause these leg spasms:

  • Carrying around that ever-growing butter ball and extra weight in your belly
  • Extra pressure on your blood vessels which return blood from your legs to your heart
  • Extra pressure on your nerves that go from your trunk to your legs

So after googling “pregnancy leg cramps” and talking to my doctor, here’s what I learned and what I have tried to proactively prevent these excruciating cramps. And so far, it seems to be helping.

Preventing pregnancy leg cramps/spasms:

  1. Try to limit sitting (or standing) with legs crossed.
  2. Every hour or so, remember to stretch your calf muscles by bringing your toes back toward your shins and pointing them toward the ceiling for a few seconds and then releasing/relaxing. It doesn’t help to point the toes downward so avoid that. Do this several times right before bedtime too.
  3. Remember to lay down on your left side which improves circulation in your legs.
  4. Limit walking in heels or even wedges. Instead stick to wearing comfortable shoes with good support. I stick with flats most of time.
  5. While sitting at your desk at work, eating meals or even while you’re relaxing watching your favorite shows, remember to rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes. I did this on my flight last weekend too and it helped.
  6. Get in some exercise by taking a short walk every day. Check with your doctor or care provider first though and make sure it’s ok for you to exercise.
  7. But avoid getting too tired!!
  8. Stay hydrated.

What to do if you If you do get a cramp?

    • Immediately stretch your calf muscles as I described in #2. It might be painful to do this, but it will really help relax and ease the leg cramp/spasm and the cramp will gradually…hopefully not gradually…go away.
    • Sometimes, actually walking around for a few minutes can help but this doesn’t usually work for me. Stretches seem to work better.
    • You can also try to relax leg cramps by massaging the muscle by stroking from top to bottom of the affected area.

Also yoga seem to really help- check out Chai Momma Puja’s post on getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy and her VIDEO on simple stretches for leg cramping that helped her get through pregnancy!

When you’re pregnant, you tend to find that your choices of medication or treatment, (if that’s the route you want to go down) are limited, due to the harmful impacts it could potentially have on your unborn baby. And you don’t want to do anything that could put them in harm’s way. That’s why it is important that you find different ways to relieve the pain of your leg cramps as soon as they start. But you see, if I wasn’t pregnant, I would definitely be looking into this CBD brand for pain relief that my friend was telling me about, as the oil has been known to help relieve symptoms of pain. And I’m definitely in need of this at the minute. But hopefully, the suggestions listed above will be able to do the trick in helping you to be pain-free in no time.

Of course, if your pain is more consistent you may need to call your doctor. Pregnant women are more prone to blood clots so you want to make sure to get checked out.

Hope this helps all your mommas to be out there!!

– Shraddha






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