Leg cramps often strike in the middle of the night when you least expect them and can be painful enough to make you sit bolt upright and cry like a baby (speaking from personal experience).
My first leg cramp was so painful that I wondered how I could cope with the pain of contractions during labour. After the second one I decided I’d use future cramps to practise my labour breathing to ride out the pain while my hands- on- husband massaged the pain away.
Despite having an action plan in place, I was curious as to why I was getting these god- awful cramps and wondered what I could do to prevent them. I spent copious amounts of time searching google and asking health professionals and to be honest, no one really knows the answer. The following are the findings from my research and my own self- discovery.
There are a number of causes of leg cramps in pregnancy:
- Tense or stiff muscles
- Poor blood circulation
- Pressure of the growing foetus on the nerves and blood vessels
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
Here’s 6 Ways to Avoid Leg Cramps in Pregnancy:
1. Epsom Salts: Have a bath with 2 cups of epsom salts or soak your feet in 1 cup of epsom salts before bed. Not only will it prevent leg cramps but it will help you to relax and get a good sleep.
2. Elevate your feet: Up until 30 weeks (or as long as you’re still comfortable lying on your back) try Legs Up The Wall. If you’re not comfortable lying on your back, elevate your feet on a chair and some cushions while you’re sitting on the couch. This will help with circulation, tired aching legs and reduce swelling.
3. Stay Hydrated: it’s recommended you drink at least 2 litres of water a day during pregnancy. Herbal tea such as Raspberry Leaf or Pregnancy Tea is also a good source of hydration as are fruit and vegetables high in water content like watermelon, strawberries, oranges, cucumber and celery. More hearty foods like broths and soups are also a good option.
4. Take a Magnesium supplement before bed or rub your calves with magnesium lotion or oil or perhaps ask your partner to massage your feet and calves. Magnesium relieves muscle tension but also promotes sleep and prevents constipation.
5. Eat a banana: are a great source of potassium, magnesium and calcium which helps your muscles relax. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body to produce serotonin that aids your body to regulate sleep.
6. Stretch your legs before bed: Click the link below for my 10 minute prenatal yoga sequence to get rid of leg cramps. Do it before bed to help with circulation and muscle tightness.
Tell me in the COMMENTS below.….what have you found helps you avoid or get rid of leg cramps?
Are you a tired, pregnant mama? Get your free 20 minute Guided Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) to take you from exhausted to energised. Fill in your details HERE and I’ll send it to your inbox for you to download.