Being pregnant in the third trimester can be difficult and uncomfortable. One of the symptoms pregnant women often complain about is Charley Horse, a condition that causes cramping in the legs, usually at night. While it can be uncomfortable and unsettling, there are ways to manage the pain associated with Charley Horse. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes and symptoms of Charley Horse during pregnancy, as well as different remedies that can help alleviate the discomfort. We will also explain why some pregnant women are more prone to developing Charley Horse than others, and how to keep it under control. By the end of this blog post, you should have a better understanding of Charley Horse during pregnancy and how to manage the symptoms.
What causes leg cramps during pregnancy, and can they be prevented?Answer From Mary Marnach, M.D.
In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, leg cramps, which are painful involuntary muscle contractions that typically affect the calf, foot, or both, are quite common.
While the precise cause of leg cramps during pregnancy is unknown, there are steps you can take to avoid them. For example:
Stretch your calf muscles. Although evidence is lacking, stretching before bed might help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy. Stand at arms length from a wall, place your hands on the wall in front of you and move your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, being careful to keep your back straight and your hips forward. Dont rotate your feet inward or outward. Switch legs and repeat.
Stay active. Regular physical activity might help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy. Before you begin an exercise program, make sure you have your health care providers OK.
Take a magnesium supplement. Limited research suggests that taking a magnesium supplement might help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy. Make sure you have your health care providers OK to take a supplement. You might also consider eating more magnesium-rich foods, such as whole grains, beans, dried fruits, nuts and seeds.
Stay hydrated. Keeping your muscles hydrated might help prevent cramps. Your urine should be relatively clear or light yellow in color if you are properly hydrated. If your urine is darker yellow, it might mean that youre not getting enough water.
Get adequate calcium. Some research suggests reduced levels of calcium in your blood during pregnancy may contribute to leg cramps. All women, including pregnant women, should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.
Choose proper footwear. Choose shoes with comfort, support and utility in mind. It might help to wear shoes with a firm heel counter — the part of the shoe that surrounds the heel and helps lock the foot into the shoe.
Stretch the calf muscle on the affected side if a leg cramp occurs. Leg elevation after walking could prevent a leg cramp from recurring. A warm bath, ice massage, hot shower, or muscle massage may also be beneficial.
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Leg cramps are most common during pregnancy when you’re lying down, but these excruciating spasms can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Leg cramps aren’t making it any easier for you to get some rest now that your belly is getting bigger by the day and your mind is operating on overdrive.
How can I get rid of leg cramps when I’m pregnant?
When you get a leg cramp, try the following:
Flex your feet. Straighten your leg and gently flex your ankle and toes back toward your shins several times. You can do this in bed, but you may find you get faster relief if you get up and do it on your feet.
Cool it. Try standing on a cold surface, which can sometimes stop a spasm. An ice pack or cool compress may also help.
Warm up. If stretching and cold help subside the pain, try a heating pad for added relief. (Don’t use heat if pain persists.)
Get a massage. Another option: treat yourself to a prenatal massage, or ask your partner to give you a rub-down. (Dont massage if pain persists.)
How do you get rid of a pregnant charley horse?
If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle on the affected side. Walking and then elevating your legs might help keep the leg cramp from returning. A hot shower, warm bath, ice massage or muscle massage also might help.
Why do I keep getting Charlie horses while pregnant?
It may have to do with changes in blood circulation and stress on your leg muscles from carrying extra weight. Your growing baby also puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that go to your legs. And some doctors say low calcium, or a change in the way your body processes calcium, may cause cramps.
How can I prevent charley horses at night while pregnant?
While leg cramps are common during pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to lower your chances of getting them in the first place:
Stretch your calf muscles. …
Stay physically active. …
Strive for a balanced diet. …
Take a warm shower or bath before bed. …
Drink plenty of water. …
Take a magnesium supplement.
When should I worry about third trimester cramps?
Of course, if third-trimester cramping doesn’t quickly subside and continues to progress, you could be experiencing preterm labor, which is labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Call your doctor right away and express your concerns; they might want to evaluate you right away.
Do THIS to Stop Leg Cramps in Pregnancy. No More CHARLEY HORSES