Leg cramps are a common occurrence with pregnant women. The reasons for increased leg cramps during pregnancy aren't clear. It's possible that your leg muscles are tired from carrying around all of your extra weight. Or maybe they resent the pressure of the uterus on blood vessels that carry blood back from the legs to the heart and nerves that connect the trunk with the legs.
Leg cramps appear in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and may get worse as your pregnancy progresses and your belly gets bigger. They can occur at any time, but you will most likely notice them at night time.
There are a few things that you can do to treat leg cramps or prevent them from occurring. Following are the tips that can be very helpful to relieve and prevent your leg cramps during pregnancy:
• Avoid heels, standing or sitting for long periods of times, and crossing your legs.
• Stretch your calf and leg muscles during the day and before you go to bed.
• Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes when you are sitting.
• Take a walk every day, unless your midwife or doctor has advised you not to exercise.
• Avoid getting too tired. Lie down on your left side to improve circulation to and from your legs.
• Stay well hydrated (preferably with water) and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
• Relax the muscle through gentle massage, or heat the muscle with a warm towel or hot water bottle
• Try a warm bath before bed to relax your muscles
• Take the opportunity to elevate your legs whenever possible during the day.
• Eating a diet rich in potassium such as bananas. Potassium is an important element that helps to regulate muscle contraction.
• Eat calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, fish with bones (salmon or sardines), green leafy vegetables, almonds and tofu. Eating calcium rich foods provides a natural remedy for leg pain and cramps during pregnancy.
• Reduce your intake of phosphorus-rich foods such as soft drinks, processed meats and snack foods. Too much phosphorus in your diet can contribute to muscle cramps, so try to avoid foods with excess levels of phosphorus.
• Take vitamin supplements containing vitamin B1, B6, calcium and magnesium. These Vitamin has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of leg cramps. However, it is very important that you always check with your doctor before taking any supplement.
Call your doctor if you have constant pain, tenderness, or swelling in your legs. These may be signs of of a more serious problem.