Written by Pradeep
Are you getting these painful cramps in your calves? Did you wake from your sleep during the night due to brief but excruciating muscle spasm in your leg?
Leg cramps are common in the course of pregnancy. Nearly half of the pregnant women experience this intense pain of muscle spasm in the leg. These lower leg cramps are more frequent in the evening and the middle of the night, especially during the second and third trimesters.
In This Article
Leg cramps are a common yet, innocuous condition where the muscles in the leg suddenly contract and become rigid and painful. The cramps usually happen in the calf muscles. Any part of the leg, including the feet and thighs, can also be affected. Typically, a painful spasm ascends from the back of the leg (calf muscle) towards the thigh. The spasm can last for a few seconds, or sometimes it can even last for five to ten minutes.
After the cramping has passed, you may feel the pain and tenderness in your leg for some more time, which eventually fades out. Three out of four cases of leg cramps are found to happen during the night while sleeping.
There are no definite reasons to pin down muscle cramps during pregnancy. Back in the days, it was thought that calcium deficiency is the reason behind these spasms. Later research concluded that calcium insufficiency is not the reason to blame for leg cramps. Some other factors may trigger leg cramps in the course of pregnancy, such as:
Leg cramps are found to be more prominent during the second and the third trimester of pregnancy. This relates to the weight gained during pregnancy with the leg cramps. As the leg muscles need to support the extra weight, this excessive work of the muscle can cause leg cramps.
The developing infant and growing abdomen bring additional weight on the blood vessels that proceed to the leg. Therefore, the leg muscles may not get enough blood, which is a typical reason for cramping.
Another possibility is the head of the baby pressing the nerves that are capable of triggering leg cramps.
Following a couple of steps will help to relieve the leg cramps faster:
[Read : Swollen Ankles in Pregnancy]
Here are some measures to prevent leg cramps in the course of pregnancy:
[Read : Standing For Long Hours In Pregnancy]
Leg cramps during pregnancy are quite common and, more often, no need for medical attention. However, just to be on the safer side, it is significant to call for medical attention if:
Any of the above signs can be an indication of a dangerous condition called DVT (deep vein thrombosis). DVT refers to the blood clot in the vein far down in the body. DVT requires immediate medical attention as it can be fatal if the clot detaches from the vein and travel towards the heart or lungs.
Read Also: Feet Swelling During Pregnancy