Leg cramps are fairly common during pregnancy, particularly during the later stages. And while they can be extremely uncomfortable and a bit of a nuisance to deal with, there are plenty of things you can do to relieve and even prevent them.
What are they:
Leg cramps are muscle contractions in the foot and calf and are pretty common during the second and third trimester.
What causes cramps:
While usually caused by the extra weight you are now carrying, leg cramps during pregnancy can also be caused by changes in your circulation, pressure placed on your nerves and even dehydration. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is no exact cause for them and there could be any number of reasons as to why they are more frequent when you are expecting.
How to relieve the pain:
When you do experience a cramp, place your leg in the shower and run warm water over it. You can also try massaging and stretching the area to help relieve the uncomfortable pain.
How to prevent it happening:
1. Stretch your legs
As cramps are common at night, before you head to bed make sure you stretch out your calf muscles. Stand with your hands on a wall, put your right knee at a slight angle and push your left leg behind you. To stretch the leg, push your left heel down towards the ground and, keeping your back straight, hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.
2. Up your magnesium intake
Research, albeit a little limited, suggests that magnesium can help to prevent cramps, so up your intake of beans, dried fruits, whole grains and seeds.
3. Drink plenty of water
As dehydration can cause your muscles to spasm, make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluid, preferably water, throughout the day.
4. Wear proper shoes
Make sure the shoes you are wearing are supportive and fit correctly. As your bump grows, you will need to ensure that your feet aren’t slipping and sliding around your shoes.