Living through Leg Cramps during Your Pregnancy

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

Leg cramps are a common annoyance of pregnancy, and they’re likely to become more frequent as the months go along. They’re due to a sudden tightening of the muscles. The muscles may tighten for many different reasons, including lack of fluids, muscle strain, or staying in one position for too long.

Doctors once thought that leg cramps were due to too little calcium or potassium in the diet, although that has not been shown to be true. Some studies suggest that taking an oral magnesium supplement may reduce leg cramps.

To diminish leg cramps, you may want to try one of these suggestions:

  • Apply heat to the calves.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Avoid staying in one position too long.

  • Stretch and extend your legs and feet.

  • Take a short walk.

  • Ask your partner to give you a foot or leg massage.

Do your stretching nightly before bed. Point your toes up toward the ceiling to really stretch your calves out. Do this about ten times. In the morning, get in the habit of doing this stretching at least a couple of times, before you even open your eyes if possible.

Try to avoid extending your feet when you first wake up to avoid triggering a spasm. Also take a nice walk and ask your partner to get involved by giving you a foot or leg massage!!