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What causes leg cramps?
Leg cramps are a painful feeling from involuntary spasming that usually occurs in the calves or feet. They happen when the muscles contract tightly all of a sudden, at any time during pregnancy, and more commonly at night.
Unfortunately, there are no specific known causes of leg cramps. So, no one can predict when they will happen. However, there are some theories as to why they occur, among them (but not limited to) are:-
– Pregnancy fatigue, caused by the mother carrying the additional weight
– Pregnancy hormones
– Compression of blood vessels in the legs
– Diet high in phosphorus or low in calcium or magnesium
– Changes to metabolism
– Being too active or not active enough
Getting rid of leg cramps
Although leg cramps typically happen during nighttime when you’re in bed, you may experience it during the daytime too. Regardless of when you get it, you would want to be relieved of it. So, for some relief, you may:-
- Apply hot or cold compression to your legs to relax the muscles. You could use either a hot pack or an ice pack. An alternative would be using a hot-water bottle.
- Put your legs up. Lifting your legs up may reduce the swelling and put less pressure on your legs if you have been standing or walking around for a bit.
- Massage your legs. Flex your heels and stroke upwards as you apply some pressure to your calves. By doing this, your muscles will start to relax.
How to prevent leg cramps?
Prevention is better than cure – we’ve all heard this before. And it is true. Leg cramps can be very painful and very annoying, especially when it disturbs your nightly rest and disrupts your daily activities.
Since we know that cramps happen when the leg muscles contract, the best way to go about it is by relaxing the leg muscles and putting less pressure on them. To do this, here are 3 effective options for you:
Pregnant ladies are advised to exercise. Of course, not to the extreme, but being more active than sedentary is beneficial not only to your general health, but also to your physical health. By moving your body, you are making sure that your muscles are getting enough workout and adequate stretching. Going for a walk or a swim is a good way to destress the body too. That said, be sure to get your doctor’s green light before attempting any exercise.
If you find it difficult to exercise, or perhaps have been instructed to be on bed rest, simple stretching could do the trick. Stretch your legs straight with your heels pointing outwards and wriggle your toes. This helps with blood circulation too, as poor circulation can cause aches and cramps.
A massage does not have to be done by an expert. You can do it yourself too. By putting some pressure on your legs and giving them a good knead every now and then, you will find your legs feeling less tense, especially if you’ve been on your feet for a long period.
Adjust your diet
If you’ve been told that you’re lacking in calcium and/or magnesium, with your doctor’s advice, eat more foods that contain those vitamins and minerals that you need. You can even go for supplements if your doctor agrees.
Wear proper footwear
Legs can have swelling during pregnancy and it is very uncomfortable to be walking around on swollen feet, putting more pressure on them than before and constricting the blood circulation. Hence, make sure to wear properly sized shoes, not something tight. Orthopaedic shoes or orthotics are excellent choices. They make walking easier and more comfortable, and they’re great in reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain too.
You might be surprised to know that you may be able to actually feel the muscle spasms coming. So, you have to act fast before it hits in full force. When you start to feel bits or the beginning of it, do not allow your feet and legs to remain still. Start to move them, do some stretches, and massage them. If you experience difficulty in reaching your legs, you could get help from your spouse.
You may wonder if a pregnant lady can get a massage to relieve leg cramps. While it is best to confirm with your doctor, it is generally accepted and also advised, for a pregnant lady massage can be very relaxing, very soothing, and very freeing. You don’t need to wait until you’ve been cramping up before you go for it. Even if you do not experience much leg cramps, it can be a tension-relieving experience.
What’s more, a pregnant lady massage is not limited to just the legs. If you wish to get a full body pregnancy massage, you could leave it to the professionals and find prenatal massage Singapore deals to enjoy some me-time while getting pampered and kneaded to the highest comfort and relaxation here at PNSG.