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During the pregnancy period or phase, a woman has to suffer from lots of physical pressure and cramp due to sudden drastic change in her physical appearance. Out of these physical cramps, leg cramp during pregnancy is quite common and usual.
As your body has gained lots of weight and your vagina is expanding to give place to the newly developing baby in the womb all together put pressure on the veins of your leg and calves resulting in leg swelling and pain occurs in the second or third trimester of pregnancy which keeps on increasing as delivery time comes closer.
As soon as you give delivery of your baby your leg pain will disappear along with other symptoms of pregnancy. However, with some natural measures and tips, you can get relief from this intense pain of your pregnancy time.
Causes of Leg Cramps during Pregnancy
Cramp or pain in the leg and calves is one of the symptoms of pregnancy period which primarily occurs due to the increased body weight of pregnant lady which puts extra pressure on the legs resulting in pain or discomfort in the legs. Apart from increased body weight other factors and changes in the body also affect the leg area which causes pain over there. Some of the primary reasons for leg cramps are mentioned below.
Expansion in Uterus
The size of the uterus expanded during the pregnancy period and this expansion rate remains high in the second and third trimester of this period for giving place to the newly developing fetus into a baby. This sudden expansion puts extreme pressure on the nerves of the leg or calf which causes severe cramp or pain in this area.
Abundant Weight Put On
A woman gains or puts on weight approx. 8 to 10 kg more than her pre-pregnancy weight at the time of her pregnancy. This extra weight throws its pressure on her legs and calves that result in severe cramp over there. This pain level remains in its extreme during the nighttime with a comparison to leg cramp in the daytime.
Stretches in Veins
An expanding uterus puts excessive pressure or stretching in veins passing through legs and calf muscles resulting in the cramps in legs. Also, the level of blood during this period increases by 20% so that the growing fetus would not have a shortage of blood supply, this also affects to leg veins with extra pressure so pain is quite likely to happen in this part.
Changes in Blood Circulation Level
Pregnancy affects the blood circulation level of the body which indirectly causes to generate pain or cramp in the leg area. The expansion in uterus puts pressure on the veins which are connected to heart from leg resulting in obstruction in the normal blood flow to the heart.
As the heart is not getting blood in the normal flow so it causes cramps in the leg. The obstruction in normal blood flow to the heart can causes to leg cramp in the normal people also. Until and unless the blood flow of this area gets normal and usual the pain rate doesn’t reduce.
Fatigue or feeling of exhausting is very common incident at the time of pregnancy which is an outcome of excess body weight that a pregnant woman has put on in this particular time which puts pressure on nerves or vein passing through legs affecting its blood circulation level. This causes to leg cramps or severe pain which will exist until the end of the pregnancy period.
Dehydration or shortage of water level in the body is a common incident during pregnancy and as per the doctors, this causes to cramps in legs. Your increased body size and your developing baby needs appropriate water level which cannot be fulfilled with the same quantity of water drinking which you used to have before your pregnancy. This is the reason of dehydration at the time of pregnancy resulting in legs cramp.
Deficiency of Calcium or Magnesium
The scarcity of some important minerals in the body such as calcium or magnesium also affects or causes pain in the leg muscles or calf muscles. Due to consumption of some medication such as medicine for blood pressure during the pregnancy period cause to deplete in the quantity of these minerals in the body of the pregnant woman.
The deficiency of these minerals also depends upon the type of diet you are taking during the pregnancy. Foods containing a lesser quantity of calcium and minerals cause the shortage of these vital nutrients in the body. Another reason of the deficiency of these minerals is that your baby is feeding out of same food that you are having at this time so the level of these minerals gets divided among you and the baby in your womb.
The level of progesterone hormone increases during the period of pregnancy, this hormone affects your legs and calf muscles resulting in pain in these areas. The intensity of leg pain remains high especially in the nights due to fatigue and body water retention which affects to normal and peaceful sleep in nights.
Tips to Get Relief from Leg Cramps during Pregnancy
Cramp in legs is a quite a usual phenomenon so if you are also facing this pain in your pregnancy then there is not much to worry about it. It will automatically vanish after your delivery. However with some natural tips and effective natural remedies you can get rid of your leg cramp. Some effective natural ways are mentioned below.
Follow Proper Diet Chart
You need to have a proper and well-balanced diet chart for keeping your body strong so that it won’t get easily affected with leg cramp or pain. Your everyday diet should have a combination of all necessary food items which can provide you with proteins, vitamins, minerals and other essential nutritional intact.
Some essential diets include salmon, broccoli, whole grains, almonds, pumpkin seeds, green vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage etc. fresh fruits, high protein fruits such as fish, egg, meats, beans milk etc.
For preventing the iron deficiency during pregnancy one should eat iron-rich food such as animal liver and iron supplements so that there will be no shortage of red blood cells which is important for both mother and fetus.
If the reason of your leg cramp is potassium deficiency then include potassium dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, red meat chicken, fish, yogurt, soy, milk, dried apricots, spinach, watermelon, orange juice etc.
Foods which are difficult in digesting causes bloating, so you should avoid indigestible foods to reduce your leg cramp. These foods include onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, glutinous rice etc.
Exercise plays an important role to reduce the severity of leg or calves pain during the pregnancy period. In this regard, you should choose only those exercise steps which primarily include the involvement of leg and calf as with stretching these areas, the mobility of your leg veins will increase and this will help to avoid cramp in this area.
This stretching exercise will work in a much more effective way if you do it before going to bed. As leg cramps get severe during the night because of immobilization of your body. So stretch well to your legs before bed, it will also be helpful for avoiding stress.
These simple stretching steps you can perform at any point of the day there is no necessity to make a fixed time for practicing it. You can practice them even in your casual and leisure time such as while watching TV, talking with friends and family etc.
Yoga, aerobic steps, and the daily walk will be helpful for you to keep your body fit and also it will prohibit the leg or calf cramps. Make sure that you have consulted with your doctor regarding your exercise.
Use Local Heat
Heat pads or bags are very old and effective ways to reduce pain in any area of your body. You can use a warm water bottle or heat pad over the area of your leg and calves to reduce the severity of pain naturally.
Rap the warm bottle or heat pad in a thin towel and apply it over your pain area and keep it in the same position for few minutes. Reapply it whenever you have a cramp in the leg. The heat of these local heat sources will reduce the swollen and improve your blood circulation which ultimately relieves the intense leg pain.
While using heat pads you require maintaining some precautions for ensuring your safety. Like, don’t keep the temperature of your heat pad high otherwise after a few minutes only it will be intolerable for you. Keep its temperature at the moderate level, make sure you won’t fall asleep while applying heat and the usage of heat pad should not be more than 20 minutes in one go.
Stockings which support to your legs will be helpful to give proper strength to your leg and ankle. This supportive stocking will reduce and avoid the pain in your calf and legs. These supportive devices will reduce the swelling in the ankle, lower legs, and feet.
Avoid Alcohol and Beverages Consumption
Alcohol is harmful to any human being and when it is concerned about a pregnant woman this toxic liquid is far more dangerous for the health of both fetus and future mother. Along with affecting her good health it also plays an important role in causing leg cramps during pregnancy.
Caffeinated beverages contain a diuretic which is harmful to the health of a pregnant woman. Caffeine consumption causes dehydration by increasing the water retention capacity of your body. So during pregnancy, the consumption of caffeine should be reduced to avoid leg cramp.
Massage Your Leg and Calves
A light and healthy message in the leg and calf area will help a lot to give relaxation to your leg tissues, boost the blood circulation around the leg and this way it will reduce the pain intensity.
You can apply ice packs also whenever you feel swollen or pain around leg and calves. At the time of sudden cramp in legs, you can stand over a cold area or surface as this will also help to reduce the pain intensity. Make sure you have consulted with your doctor regarding these leg cramp preventing measures.
Give Rest to Legs
Your body needs rest when you are pregnant. Lack of proper amount of rest also causes to cramp in the legs. If you stand for long hours during your pregnancy time then it will elevate the level of your cramp.
Give your legs rest by time to time in a whole day and avoid constant standing on your feet. Also, don’t sit with crossed legs as this can cause swelling and affect the blood circulation in your legs resulting in a cramp over there.
Keep your body hydrated by drinking a good quantity of water for a whole day as dehydration is one of the reasons for cramps in the leg. Drink at least 11 to 12 glasses of water each day, this will keep your muscles hydrated throughout the day and will reduce the chances of cramp in legs and calf. Other liquid fluid like milk, juice etc. also will help you to stay hydrated.
Change Your Usual Dressing
Whatever you used to wear before your pregnancy you should not wear them when you are pregnant especially in the second and third trimester of your pregnancy. Too tight clothing or dressings are one of the reasons of cramps in leg or calf so avoid wearing them.
Dresses which are loose in your body and feet are most suitable for this particular time. This will keep your foot muscles relax and comfortable which will avoid swelling and normal blood circulation in your legs which is one of the reasons of cramp in legs.
For your foot also select good fitting and moderate height shoes and sandals because a tight footwear will affect the blood circulation of this area also with high heels you will have difficulty in walking. Apart from that heels may cause an unwanted disaster too for you as well as for your baby. Wear sleepers when you are at home and give relaxation to your feet by put off the footwear whenever it is possible.
Urinate Whenever It Is Required
This is the tendency among many women to make delay in urination and not to urinate when they feel for it. During pregnancy frequent urination is a normal symptom and it should not be avoided for any reason. This delaying habit can be harmful to your health and also it causes stiffness in your leg muscles resulting in leg cramps.
The urine carries substances that are harmful to the body of a pregnant lady so it needed to be urinated as soon as you feel for urination otherwise it will harm your bladder and cause swelling in your legs.
The leg cramp during pregnancy will automatically disappear after your baby birth as the burden in your abdomen will be reduced after delivery. So there is nothing much to worry about your this health condition. Yes, by implementing our natural tips you can avoid the severity and longevity of your leg or calf cramp.