Pregnancy guide


You may feel leg cramps during the second trimester of your pregnancy, and may get worse as your pregnancy progresses.
No one knows why pregnant women get leg cramps. Maybe your muscles are tired from carrying around all your extra weight. Or they may be aggravated by the pressure your expanding uterus puts on the return blood vessels or on the nerves that lead from your trunk to your legs.
You’ll probably notice the leg cramps most at night, when they interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

How can I prevent leg cramps?
  • Avoid standing or sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time.
  • Stretch your calf muscles during the day and several times before you go to bed.
  • Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes when you sit, eat dinner or watch TV.
  • Take a walk every day.
  • Avoid getting too tired. Lie down on your left side to improve circulation to and from your legs.
  • Stay hydrated during the day.
  • Try a warm bath before bed to relax your muscles.
How to relieve a leg cramp?

If you do get a leg cramp, immediately stretch your calf muscles.
Straighten your leg, heel first, and gently flex your toes back toward your shins.
It might hurt at first, but it will ease the spasm and the pain will go away.
Try to relax the cramp by massaging the muscle or warming it with a hot water bottle.
Walking around for a few minutes may help too.

What if the pain persists?

Call your doctor if your muscle pain is constant, or if you notice swelling, redness or tenderness in your leg. Or the area feels warm to your touch. These may be signs of a blood clot, and requires immediate medical attention.

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Guide summary