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  • Writer's pictureErin White

What’s the Deal with Leg Cramps & Pregnancy??



One of the things that has been keeping me up at night besides little baby boys’ kicks has been leg cramps. They come on suddenly and holy cow are they intense! And here’s the thing, I drink A LOT of water throughout the day so I know it’s most likely not an electrolyte imbalance. So what causes these super common cramps?? Let’s take a look at some reasons why they happen to so many pregnancy women and what we can do to combat them!


What’s the difference between leg cramps and restless leg syndrome?

Leg cramps are painful involuntary muscle contractions that are typically in the calf, foot, hamstring, or a combination. They’re most common at night and during the later trimesters. Restless leg syndrome is described as an "itchy," "pulling," "burning," "creepy-crawly" feeling that gives them an overwhelming urge to move their legs, typically throughout the night.


When do leg cramps start for most women?

For most they start to appear in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, but they can happen at any time throughout pregnancy.


What causes them?

Just like most things during pregnancy there’s no real answer for why they happen. But people have made some theories behind this painful ailment and here are a few of them:

  • Body fatigue from carrying extra body weight

  • Compression of blood vessels in the legs

  • Diet (either an excess of phosphorus or a lack of calcium/magnesium)

  • Those dang pregnancy hormones

What can we do to get rid of these cramps when they’re happening?

  • Stretch it out

  • Massage it out

  • Try heat or ice

How can I prevent them? **There’s not much to do to be honest, but here are some things to try!**

  • Stretch before bed – try a calf stretch before bed and throughout the day

  • Get moving throughout the day – regular physical activity can help try to prevent cramping but be sure to clear all activity with your dr.

  • Elevate your feet

  • Try to mobilize your feet on a small ball by rubbing your arch over a lacrosse or tennis ball

  • DRINK UP – it’s recommended that pregnant women get at LEAST 96 ounces a day. If you workout for over an hour add another 20 ounces. If you’re out in the sun for too long add 20-40 ounces. Check out @bellybottle on IG for a perfect water bottle to track your water goals/progress!

  • Get more calcium and magnesium – Take calcium or magnesium supplements (with your drs approval) or find foods rich in these nutrients. Whole grains, dairy, beans, dried fruits, nuts and seeds are all good to eat. I love using BINTO’s Glow Down to not only give me some extra magnesium and calcium but it helps me fall asleep too! Check it out here and use FITWITHFAITH for a discount!

· Use 8 Sheep Organics Sleepy Body Lotion to help prevent leg cramps, ease back pain, and promote a good night’s sleep naturally! Check them out on IG @8sheeporganics!


When should you talk to your Dr. about the cramps?

If your cramps are severe and persistent enough (or if you notice swelling, warmth, redness) talk with your doc immediately!


As always be sure to consult with your doctor before starting or trying anything new! Let me know in the comments if any of these remedies help you or if you'd like more tips!

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a wife to my amazing husband Zach and a momma to an angel baby and now a beautiful baby boy. I am an anxiety warrior, a follower of Christ, and a devoted wife, mother, daughter, friend, and sister.

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