How can I help my epic leg cramps during pregnancy?

Have you been jolted awake by what can only be described as the world’s worst cramps in your calf muscles? You know, ones that literally make you jump out of bed in agonising pain? You’re not alone – these horrendous cramps are really common during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. But don’t panic! We’ll give you insight into why they might be happening and arm you with some nifty tricks on how to MOVE THROUGH LIFE to try and reduce these cramps!

Why are my legs cramping?

It is most likely a combination of things causing your legs to cramp. Possible causes include:

  • The changes to your centre of gravity as your baby grows causing strain on different muscles
  • Your growing uterus putting pressure on the veins from your legs. This and increased progesterone during pregnancy can affect muscle tone and increase cramping.
  • A nutrient or salt deficiency such as calcium or magnesium. This is caused by the baby using up your supplies.
  • Fatigue and dehydration

As frustrating as these cramps can be, they are usually nothing to worry about and they are only temporary. If they are keeping you from sleeping or you are concerned about their severity or frequency, mention them you your health practitioner at your next appointment.

How do I stop these cramps?

When one of these cramps come on – here are some tips to help relieve the pain:

  • Gently stretching your calf muscles – hold this stretch for around 30 seconds
  • Walking around for a few minutes
  • Gently massaging the area
  • Pop an ice or cool pack on the area

How do I prevent cramps?

Try these practical ideas to reduce the risk of experiencing cramps at night:

  • Hydration – make sure you are drinking 2-3 litres of water a day
  • A good quality magnesium supplement like Bioceuticals Ultra Muscleze which we stock at all our clinics can help with any underlying magnesium deficiency
  • Stretching – stretching, foam rolling and using the spiky ball on those tight calf muscles during the day can help reduce muscle tightness. Here are a few of favourite exercises:
  • Staying active
  • Wearing supportive footwear – our podiatrists can help you choose the right footwear during pregnancy.
  • Treatment – having regular osteopathic treatment can help your body adjust to the biomechanical changes during pregnancy.  Osteopathy and myotherapy treatments can help release your tight calf muscles using different techniques including massage and dry needling.

We hope you find these tactics useful for managing cramps during pregnancy. If in doubt – our practitioners are highly skilled in treating pregnant women and would love to help you MOVE THROUGH your pregnancy!

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