Do you wake up at night due to leg pain? Are you having pregnancy leg cramps?
Leg cramps are a very common condition yet harmless. Legs cramps occur when muscles in your legs suddenly become tight and painful.
Leg cramping can also be termed as ‘Charley Horses’ when the involuntary muscle contraction occurs particularly in calf muscles.
Reasons for Leg Cramps during pregnancy
There are few reasons for leg cramping
- Leg muscles become sore because of some serious physical activity like exercise, running, etc.
- Pregnancy Hormones
- Deficiency Of essential Vitamins
- Poor blood circulation
- Lack of stretching/exercise
Legs cramping is one of the toughest things that happen during pregnancy. It gets crazy sometimes at night and the discomfort is so much that you can’t even sleep or rest peacefully.
Sometimes too much walking in your third trimester or physical fatigue or dehydration can also lead to leg cramping.
How to survive Leg cramps during Pregnancy
Well in pregnancy you just can’t take medications for random aches and discomforts unless it is really needed or prescribed by your OBGYN.
For cramping, you don’t have to take any medicines just a few remedies help you sleep comfortably through the night.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer for more information.
1. Hydration is the key to survive leg cramps during pregnancy
I can’t emphasize that enough. You should drink lots and lots of water.
Every time I had complained to my midwife about my legs cramping and she always asked: “Are you drinking enough water”.
Sometimes you don’t really feel like drinking water. You just don’t like the taste. Thanks to pregnancy hormones. Taste aversion is a real thing. You can drink water in some other form.
You can try other hydrating drinks like
- Vitamin water – This flavor is by far the best one.
- Coconut water
- still, the No 1 recommendation is the real water.
Just try not to be too busy to drink water. Sometimes you are already juggling up with so much while pregnant that you tend to forget about water.
If you are pregnant and considering these hydrating drinks, just watch out for caffeine intake.
If that’s the case, keep a water bottle around you. Preferably on each level if you have to move up and down. Sometimes you feel just too lazy to get up and go all the way to your kitchen to drink water.
Try not to drink water that is too cold or too hot. Just a room temperature water should be fine.
2. Take essential Prenatal Vitamins/Magnesium/Potassium
Lack of magnesium or potassium might also be the reason for leg cramps or leg pain during pregnancy.
Magnesium is known to improve muscle health. Eating magnesium and potassium-rich food while you are pregnant or in everyday life other than pregnancy is the best choice for your health.
Banana is a rich source of potassium. Eating a banana with a cup of milk would certainly help.
If you have muscle twitching during pregnancy most likely in the second and third trimester, you should take magnesium tablets if your OBGYN gives you a green signal about taking magnesium supplements other than your prenatal vitamins. Just take the recommended dosage.
You can take potassium for your leg crampings if they happen quite often other than pregnancy.
3. Yoga Pose or Stretching
If cramping gets worse at night, you should try this yoga pose. It worked for me 100% every time I had leg cramps in the middle of the night.
Reclining Hero Pose
It is a modified form of reclining hero pose. Sit up on your buttocks – legs folded on a comfortable place (floor or a bed). Place your hands on the back of the pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks. Then finish reclining, either onto the floor or a support blanket or a pillow. Use as much height as you need to make the position reasonably comfortable.
Recline unless you feel stretch in your legs. You can move your lower legs outside only if you feel comfortable doing it. It takes a lot of flexibility though. Stay in this position for a couple of minutes (as shown in the picture) and relax.
Caution: If you have any serious condition of a back, knee or ankle avoid this pose.
Due to your baby weight on your belly won’t let you stay in this position for a long time.
This pose will help in relieving your cramps. It works for my leg cramps whenever I have trouble sleeping.
If you think this is something you cannot do, just try random legs stretching. Sit up and straighten your legs. Try touching your toes with your hands by leaning forward.
4. Massage your legs
If you are lucky enough to have someone massage your legs with essential oils in the middle of the night. Olive oil works great. Massage is a great way to relax your muscles. It is known to be one of the most effective ways of relieving cramps.
You may want to try compression socks to relieve leg pain. These socks would help with blood circulation and works very well even during postpartum.
5. Food that can help
Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet can actually help. Food that is rich in Calcium, Potassium is of great benefit to you and the baby.
Eat Bananas and milk every day.
Dates, Figs, Coconut, almonds, walnuts, and raisins should be kept at an arm’s reach if night time hunger pangs hit.
Calcium-rich food would help in relieving pain.
6. Take Prenatal Vitamins at night
Prenatal vitamins are super essential while you are pregnant and until you are breastfeeding. You need to take your vitamins regardless. It is somehow recommended to take your prenatal vitamins at night.
This may help minimize cramping at night significantly.
Moreover, too much laziness/less movement in your lifestyle can even slow down blood circulation. Walk as much as you are comfortable with. Stretching can help in reducing leg cramps. Stay active, hydrated and listen to your body. When your body tells you that you feel tired, sit down, put your feet up and rest until you get your energy back.
Leg cramping is a common pregnancy discomfort, however, if you experience that even without being pregnant, you may want to get your vitamin D levels checked. For some people, leg cramping is one of the significant symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.
Do you get worried about sleep deprivation after the birth of your baby? Grab my ebook that covers everything you need to know about newborns’ sleep.