What is going on with my body? Let’s be real. Pregnancy is unpredictable and can be uncomfortable. No matter how many pregnancies you’ve had, it seems like everyday it's something new. Today is the first in our Pregnancy Guide blog series: what’s normal, what’s not and most importantly how to get some relief.


It’s 2 am. I have to pee.

Again.

Alright... Let’s roll over...Slowly.

(Whispers) F#*%!

 

$@IT!   F#*%!  F#*%!

 

Wake up. (Elbows husband hard).

 

(No Longer Whispering)

 

It’s my leg. F#*%ing Leg! Quick! Come grab my foot.
NO!
The other foot!
Just hold it. (Husband holds foot and squeezes)
Wait, no…help me stand up, I have to pee!
F#*%!
I just have to put pressure on it and stand. F#*%ing LEG CRAMPS!
Help me down the hall, I REALLY have to pee.

 

(Walk down hall. Pee. Husband massages calf while I sit on the toilet. Hobble back to bed. Slowly the muscles release).

This was us. Through two pregnancies. Three nights per week. Bare minimum.

Why do I get pregnancy leg cramps?

Pressure on leg nerves.

Well yes. I’m carrying another human being IN MY BODY.

 

Dehydration.

Did I drink enough water today? I feel like I’m in the bathroom every half hour. 

 

Muscle Fatigue.

Yes. Didn’t I tell you I’m carrying another human being IN MY BODY? (Oh and chasing my toddler).

 

Mineral imbalance. Not enough calcium or magnesium. Too much phosphorus from processed foods and soft drinks.

Wait I thought I was taking prenatal vitamins. I’ve been eating watermelon by the bowl full (with a side of bacon…that’s really good…and processed...) Have I told you how much I love kale?  And I don’t drink soda. Well…except my annual Christmas Coke.

And sometimes it's not any of the reasons above. Sometimes the answer is just that pregnancy hormones cause an imbalance in your blood circulation which can cause leg cramps.

If you’re pregnant and experiencing leg cramps - or the helping hands - you know the seriousness of getting this situation under control.

Fast.

Leg Cramps-2.png

If lunging just isn't for you, sit on a chair and flex the foot of your cramped leg pointing your toes towards your knee. 

If your partner is available, they can help by holding your knee straight.

Now. Let’s talk about what you can do to help minimize leg cramps from starting in the first place.

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  1. Stretch your legs. Roll your ankles. Use a hands and knees position to gently stretch your lower back to reduce the weight of the uterus on the blood vessels in your pelvis and promote blood flow.

  2. When you’re resting on the couch or in bed, elevate your legs to help reduce swelling and improve circulation.

  3. Minimize prolonged standing or sitting. Take breaks through the day and take a walk.

  4. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, and stay hydrated. 

  5. Massage your legs, calves and feet to help relax tense muscles. This is much more enjoyable for you and your partner than those middle of the night massage emergencies.

  6. If leg cramps are happening at night, try having a banana for an evening snack. Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium. Eating one in the evening may help replenish the mineral stores in your blood.

Don't forget to update your care provider about your symptoms at your next visit. If your leg cramps are frequent &/or you have immediate questions or concerns, give them a call. They're always there to help.


Have a question about pregnancy? A tip that's worked well for you? Join Pregnant and Parenting in Greater Cincinnati, a Facebook group dedicated to those trying to conceive, currently pregnant, newly postpartum, or parents in general.

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