As you have read here before, I am preggy with our second child. I am now on my 2nd trimester and everything is going very well. No more morning sickness and I can now feel our baby kick! This one is pretty playful, kept on moving inside almost every hour the whole day. One thing that started to bother me though is leg cramps. If my memory serves me right, I already had leg cramps twice, in this period alone. It now makes me wonder if it’s a bad sign and may have harmful effect on me and the baby.
I searched Mr. Google and here’s what I found out.
Just as running, playing a heated game of tennis, or simply standing all day can tire your muscles so much that they cramp, so too can being pregnant. The added weight on your leg muscles often leads to night cramps, which can wake you out of a sound sleep. Leg cramps hit hardest in the second and third trimesters.
Some other possible causes of pregnancy-related leg cramps are thought to be an excess of phosphorus (found in processed meats, snack foods, and fizzy drinks) and a shortage of calcium circulating in your blood, or the pressure of the expanding uterus on the nerves leading to your legs.
How can I relieve the pain?
Fortunately, leg cramps are one of the pregnancy complaints you can do something about.
When a cramp strikes:
- Stretch. Start by straightening your leg — heel first — and gingerly flexing your ankle and toes. This will hurt at first but gradually make the pain go away.
- Massage the cramped muscle.
- Take a warm bath or place a hot water bottle on the cramped area.
- Walk it off. Pacing for a few minutes should help.
Can I do anything to stave it off?
- Stretch before bed. Stretching your calf muscles several times (as described above) before you go to bed could help prevent night cramps completely.
- Avoid standing for long periods or sitting with your legs crossed.
- Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes when sitting, at work, at dinner, or watching TV.
- Eat a banana or pineapple, or drink a glass of milk before bed for a quick calcium and potassium boost. Don’t take any herbal or vitamin supplements without first discussing it with your doctor or a medical herbalist.
- Eat calcium-rich foods. If you really have trouble with leg cramps, ask your doctor about taking a calcium supplement. (But avoid using any calcium supplements with dolomite or bone meal in them; these often contain lead, which can cross the placenta and harm your baby.)
- Do some stretching exercises/warm ups first after waking up.
- Try to avoid gaining excessive weight.
- When resting, raise your feet up to reduce leg swelling which might aggravate leg cramping.
- Avoid eating excessive salty food, as this might lead to edema — what we call manas — of the fingers and legs, that might aggravate the cramping.
- Avoid soft drinks, which contain a lot of phosphorus.
What if the pain persists?
If the pain is constant and not just an occasional cramp, or if you notice swelling or tenderness, call your doctor. You could have venous thrombosis, or a blood clot, a fairly rare (one in 2,000 pregnancies) but serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. SourceI’m happy cramps is not very serious and is more common to pregnant women. I just hope it won’t happen to me every night because it does hurt.