Between an over loaded mind, swollen legs and constant heart burn, the last thing you need is leg cramps cramping your sleeping style. Leg cramps are sudden, involuntary spasms that radiate up and down your leg and are very common in women who are in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
There are several reasons behind this from fatigue, to compressed nerves in the legs to the baby’s weight. Blame the hormones for playing havoc with your body. Whatever be the reason, here are some ways of preventing leg cramps.
During The Cramp
When the cramp strikes, stretch your legs out and flex your ankles and toes without pointing your toes. Doing this will lessen the pain. Do this several times before you hit the bed. It will ward off leg cramps and help you sleep like a baby.
Do this simple stretching exercise. Stand two feet away from the wall with your palms flat against the wall. Press your heels to the ground. Hold this stretch for a minute and repeat. Do 8-10 repetitions 3-4 times a day.
Put your feet up whenever you can. Make sure that periods of resting are accompanied by periods of light to moderate activity. Too much of inactivity can also lead to cramps. Flex your feet as often as you can.
Walk bare feet on a cold surface or better still on the grass. Grassy surfaces help boosting the blood circulation in the legs and prevent your legs from cramping up.
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In combination with the above exercises you can also lightly massage your leg and apply warm compresses to ease off the cramps. However don’t apply any heat if you feel the above tips are not helping.
Consult A Doctor
It is wise to consult your practitioner if your leg cramps are getting worse or severe. He might refer you to a physiotherapist who will recommend some beneficial exercises for your leg cramps.
Have plenty of fluids throughout your pregnancy. Morning sickness may cause your intake of fluids to drastically reduce leading to dehydration. Cramping is one of the foremost signs of dehydration. So drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. If you can’t take too many fluids because of vomiting, take small sips to keep yourself hydrated.
Your Pregnancy Diet
Make sure you take in healthy and wholesome meals rich in fibre, fruits and vegetables. Increase your intake of zinc, folic acid, calcium, potassium and magnesium all of which are helpful in preventing leg cramps. Really bad cramps can cause muscle soreness for a few days. Keep applying warm compresses for relief. In case the cramps are severe and chronic, do see a doctor right away.
There may be a possibility that you may have developed a blood clot in your leg. This can burst and lead to internal bleeding. So always be on the alert and have your symptoms checked out. Leg cramps that are accompanied by backache and abdominal cramps can indicate that something is amiss so get it checked right away.