Common Pregnancy Related Discomforts – Leg Cramps


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General Description

Cramps or spasms in the muscles of the legs. They are common in pregnancy, especially at night, and can interfere with the ability to sleep. “Charley Horse” is a cramp that is typically a sign of calcium and magnesium deficiency.

 

Sources of Discomfort

Often due to nutrient imbalances, dehydration, overexertion, and pressure on the pelvic blood vessels or nerves impairing circulation to the lower extremities due to uterine growth.

 

Methods of Relief

Positional Relief

  1. Gentle stretching of leg muscles – toes flexed upwards, walking daily to promote circulation, shifting weight from one leg to the other when standing, and avoiding sitting with legs crossed.
  2. Elevation of the legs above the heart throughout the day, and counter pressure on the bottom of feet when laying down (partner hand / footboard of bed).

 

Pampering

  1. Enjoy a hot bath before bed, and keep legs warm while sleeping (warming pad). Can add magnesium flakes / Epsom salt to bath water.

 

Diet, Supplementation & Herbs

  1. Adequate diet to include bananas, grapefruit, oranges, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, salmon, sardines, dark greens, seaweed, soybeans, almonds, sesame seeds, oils, and essential fatty acids
  2. Adequate sodium (1500 mg), calcium (1000 mg), and potassium (4700 mg), daily
  3. 350 mg of magnesium at bedtime
  4. Raspberry leaf, nettle, dandelion, crampbark teas and tinctures

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