Cramps during early pregnancy
leg cramps during early pregnancy in the lower leg muscles are fairly common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. They most frequently occur at night, and they may disrupt your sleep. Although the exact cause of leg cramps is unknown, slow blood return associated with the pressure of the baby on your leg veins may be responsible.
Sudden spasms of pains in the legs and feet. It’s not clear why they can crop up during pregnancy, but theories include muscle fatigue (other muscles in the body are working so hard to support you and the growing baby, and something has to give); a deficiency of minerals such as magnesium and potassium; and pressure on the nerves caused by the growing uterus.
Tips To Prevent cramps during early pregnancy
Here are some tips for relieving the discomfort of leg cramps during early pregnancy or calf tenderness:
- Try exercises to stretch your calf muscles, particularly before bed.
- Stretch the affected muscle. Try straightening your knee and gently flexing your foot upward (see STRETCHING ROUTINE FOR PREGNANT)
- Walk. You may find it uncomfortable at first, but walking helps relieve the cramping.
- Wear support hose, especially if you stand a lot during the day.
- Take frequent breaks if you sit or stand for long periods.
- Massage your calves. Gently rubbing the muscle can help.
- Try resting with your legs up on pillows or the arm of a sofa.
- Wear shoes with low heels.
- Try not to cross your legs when sitting or standing; keep your legs and ankles moving by stretching and wiggling your calves and feet whenever you get a chance.
- If you do get an attack, stretch out the leg and rotate your ankle, or try walking round the room.
- Eating a balanced diet may help boost any minerals you’re missing – but check with your midwife or GP before taking any type of supplement (see PREGNANCY MEAL PLAN).
When to seek medical help cramps during early pregnancy
If leg cramps persist, talk to your care provider. They might be caused by a circulation problem. Contact your care provider right away if you notice redness, swelling, an increase in pain or if you have a history of a blood clots or a blood-clotting disorder.
Could it be serious?
No, just annoying. They’ll only come in short, temporary bursts and won’t last beyond pregnancy. If you’ve got severe, persistent leg pain and/or you’re suffering from other symptoms such as swelling of the leg, contact your GP as this could be a sign of a deep vein thrombosis.
Medical factfile: thrombosis
Around one or two in 1,000 women will get a blood clot in the vein during pregnancy or just after birth, when the risk is about five times higher than normal because of changes in the way the blood clots and flows. (And some people are more at risk of blood clots in general because of a genetic tendency, so you should always let your midwife or doctor know early on, if it’s something that runs in your family.)
The most common sort, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is when a blood clot occurs in a deep vein, usually in the leg. Symptoms include pain, tenderness and swelling in the leg, which may turn pale blue or reddish-purple in colour. If you notice any of these, do alert your midwife or doctor immediately.
Treatment is a medication called heparin. You could also be asked to wear compression stockings to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. It’s vital to get prompt treatment for DVT, as it can lead to a dangerous complication called a pulmonary embolism, which can prove fatal.
Recipe to prevent cramps during early pregnancy
Oh! Susannah Chocolate Maltshake
Prep: 5 minutes
1 cup low-fat double-churned vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon malted milk powder (such as Carnation)
Calories 240; Fat 9 g (Sat 3 g, Mono 0.5 g, Poly 2 g); Cholesterol 15 mg; Protein 5 g; Carbohydrate 36 g; Sugars 15 g; Fiber 3 g; Iron 1 mg; Sodium 246 mg; Calcium 32 mg
Koto Kapama (Cinnamon-Stewed Chicken)
Note: Ask your butcher to cut the chicken into pieces for you. Post-pregnancy, try adding ½ cup dry white wine to the pan after you’ve sautéed the onions.
1 chicken (2½ to 3 pounds), cut into eight pieces
Calories 334; Fat 7 g (Sat 1 g, Mono 3 g, Poly 1 g); Cholesterol 132 mg; Protein 55 g; Carbohydrate 12 g; Sugars 6 g; Fiber 3 g; Iron 3 mg; Sodium 789 mg; Calcium 64 mg; Folate 23 mcg; Beta-Carotene 266 mcg; Potassium 959 mg; Zinc 2 mg
Optional Video :Cramps During Early Pregnancy