This Is How to Deal With Leg Cramps during Pregnancy

leg cramps during pregnancy
Photo by VasitChaya/shutterstock

A Mommybites reader asked:

For the past few weeks of my pregnancy my legs have been cramping at night. Why is this happening and what can I do about it?

Just when you’ve managed your active pregnancy bladder and embraced the frequent bathroom visits — leg cramps begin to set in! It can be a sharp, sudden pain that is common during pregnancy and typically occurs later on in pregnancy’s second or third trimester. It’s usually caused by additional weight gain, dehydration and fatigue. It can also be a sign of calcium or magnesium deficiency.

Here are some tips to keep the blood circulating and to help reduce leg cramping

Stretching – stretching is a wonderful way to keep our muscles toned and flexible and increase blood flow and circulation. Finding a prenatal yoga class is a great way to easily build gentle stretching into your week!

Comfortable shoes – find your most comfortable shoes and dig them out of your closet. Those hidden gems will be a welcome reprieve to keep your toes and legs refreshed as you go about your day. It’s great for support and to reduce pressure and swelling.

Hydration – we’ve all heard the “drink eight glasses of water a day” rule, but while expecting its super important to get the much needed fluids which can prevent dehydration and water retention, as well as leg cramps.

Mobility – Many expectant moms find sitting for long periods in the workplace common, either behind a desk or a computer. Working in a five minute stretch every hour and a quick office stroll can do wonders for the circulation. A great tip if you are desk bound – take a few minutes to draw each letter of the alphabet with each foot using your toe as an imaginary pencil– a great way to exercise the muscles in the foot and calf that physical therapists often recommend.

Prenatal Vitamins – prenatal vitamins are a wonderful compliment to nourish our growing baby, and ensure we are getting the required vitamins and minerals for our health and our little ones. Some research has pointed to a deficiency in magnesium that may increase leg cramps, so its important to make sure your prenatal vitamins have you covered or look into a supplement your provider recommends.

delivery room
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Expert: Renee Sullivan

Renee sullivanRenee Sullivan, parent coach, works with moms each week to create their own personal parenting plan that is right for them, while making sure that each mom gets the support, resources, and community they need for their parenting journey. Drawing from her experience as an birth coach and educator, she guides moms – new, seasoned and expectant through the never – ending array of decisions that come with having a child. Weekly sessions that are “nurturing, informative, and fun” and her “calm-laid back personality” has made her a “dynamic resource” to the parenting community since 2006. Renee’s positive, warm and enthusiastic personality relaxes and guides new and expectant moms to enjoy the journey and her personal attention to detail allows all parents that work with her to quickly get the resources they need to feel at ease to make informed and educated decisions. Before joining Mommybites, she narrowly escaped the trenches of Corporate America where she was a Senior Project Manager for The New York Times, Morgan Stanley and Pfizer. She lives in New York City and is the mom of one happy kindergartener.

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