Cramps are disturbing or sometimes painful involuntary contractions of the muscles. You could end up with different types of cramps, such as: menstrual, skeletal or smooth muscle cramps or even nocturnal leg cramps. Many pregnant women experience cramps, and this condition is not limited to night time, but it could happen at any time of the day and night.
There are several theories about what causes cramps in pregnancy. Some suggest that the increase of body weight negatively affects your leg muscles and then they start to cramp, being overused by the excess weight. Growing uterus affects the blood vessels of pregnant women, also provoking cramping. Lack of calcium, magnesium or potassium and excess of phosphorus in the pregnant women are also blamed to be the causes of pregnancy cramps.
Usually, women start to experience leg cramps during the second trimester, and they could get progressively worse with the pregnancy. Some call these pregnancy cramps “Charlie Horses” and suggest walking backwards. This method is supposed to work, even though it will take you some time until the cramp eases.
Prevent Leg Cramps in PregnancyAlways consult your doctor to diagnose the exact cause of your cramps. If your doctor is fine with it, walking 10 to 15 minutes every day will reduce the cramping you have been experiencing. Wriggle the toes and shake your ankles, it will certainly improve your circulation and prevent the leg cramps. Also, you might want to try some leg stretches, especially at bed time.
At bedtime, take a warm bath. Many pregnant women say that this was the perfect thing for them, because it prevented leg cramps during the night and frequent waking-ups.
Drink plenty of water, to avoid yet another of potential causes of leg cramps – dehydration. Eat bananas to provide sufficient amounts of phosphorus, milk, almonds, salmon and green leafy vegetables for calcium and food rich in magnesium, to prevent leg cramps.
Avoid crossing your legs and sitting on them, and try not to sit too much or to stand too much during the day, when you are pregnant. Whenever sitting, elevate your legs on the foot rest or futon.
When to Consult DoctorAlways consult your doctor to diagnose the cause of the cramps. Usually, there will be no serious medical reasons for them, but just to make sure, visit the doctors first and consult him or her about the methods to prevent the cramping.
Also, if you experience severe leg cramps, you must see the doctor. Four or more cramps during the day might indicate some medical condition, and you would want your doctor to rule this out.