A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, some of which cause discomfort. One of these unpleasant phenomena are cramps of the calf muscles. Most often, convulsions occur at night or in the morning shortly before waking up and are accompanied by unbearable pain. If during pregnancy it reduces the calves of the legs at night, you need to figure out why this is happening and direct your efforts to eliminate the causes of this phenomenon.
Signs of cramps in the muscles of the legs
The muscles of the legs in women experience a lot of stress, which leads to the fact that during pregnancy it reduces the calves. The characteristic features accompanying this process are:
- pain in the calf muscle;
- its reduction;
- numbness, hardening of the muscle, it becomes “stone”;
- spontaneous stretching of the foot.
Leg muscle cramp lasts from a few seconds to several minutes, and after it the pain in the muscle is felt for some time, up to several days.
As a rule, an ankle cramp in a pregnant woman begins at night during sleep. This is due to the fact that in the supine position, the pressure of the uterus on the vessels of the small pelvis occurs, while there is a violation of the process of blood circulation in the legs.
Causes of leg cramps in pregnant women
The reasons why the calves of the legs cramp are as follows:
- Large load on the legs due to weight gain during pregnancy. Leads to a lot of muscle tension.
- Deficiency of potassium, magnesium and calcium involved in the conduction of nerve impulses to the muscles. It is often observed in pregnant women, since a large amount of nutrients is spent on the growth and development of the fetus.
- Decreased hemoglobin level. The consequence is an insufficient supply of useful substances to the body, while muscle cramps in the legs are also possible.
- Drop in blood glucose levels.
Leg muscle cramps can occur with varicose veins as a concomitant symptom.
- Wearing uncomfortable, tight shoes and clothes – tight jeans, trousers with tight elastic bands, shoes and boots with high heels.
- Wrong posture for sleeping. The vena cava is compressed by the growing uterus, resulting in a violation of the outflow of blood from the legs.
Important! From the second trimester of pregnancy, you should try to sleep on your left side. This position is most convenient for mother and baby and does not interfere with blood circulation and the functioning of internal organs.
- Taking diuretics. In this case, beneficial substances are washed out of the body and mineral metabolism is disturbed, which contributes to the occurrence of cramps in the legs.
- Wrong nutrition. Pregnant women should limit themselves to caffeinated drinks and soda, which contribute to dehydration and, as a result, cramps in the calves.
- Toxicosis. In the early stages, with severe toxicosis with vomiting, a large amount of fluid and nutrients are lost, which are very difficult to replenish due to reduced appetite.
What to do with muscle cramps for pregnant women
If you are concerned about seizures, you need to tell your gynecologist about it. You may need to take several unscheduled tests to more accurately determine the cause of muscle cramps.
But a woman should know what to do if an unpleasant manifestation befell her suddenly at night.
- If the leg is brought together in a supine position, the muscle should be stretched. To do this, lean towards your leg and gently pull the sock towards you.
- Massage the calf muscles or ask loved ones about it. When massaging and rubbing, blood circulation improves, and cramps and pain disappear.
- Prick the muscle with a needle, pinch it, then walk around the room.
- You can relieve spasm with a warm compress, which will increase blood flow to the reduced muscle. You can also create an influx of heat with a warm shower, heating pad, mustard plaster.
Effective folk methods:
- Applying a cold cabbage leaf. It will help draw out excess fluid and restore metabolic processes.
- Rubbing calves with soap containing glycerin.
If cramps in the calf muscles do not go away for a long time, are accompanied by numbness and the development of swelling, you need to call an ambulance. These signs indicate the development of complications.
During pregnancy, the use of many drugs is prohibited. In the case of convulsive muscle contractions, the doctor prescribes topical ointments and gels that are not contraindicated for women in position – Troxevsin , Venitan , Fastum- gel . The drugs are aimed at relieving pain, swelling, have a warming effect.
Preventive measures to prevent muscle cramps
In order to prevent leg cramps, you need to understand why they occur. For the prevention of seizures, the following recommendations should be observed:
- Take a prenatal vitamin complex containing potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Provide a balanced healthy diet, eliminate junk food from the diet.
- Take air and sun baths, so the body will be saturated with vitamin D.
- Pay more attention to rest, do not overload the body, do not give a big load to the legs.
- Take a couple of free minutes to care for your legs: create warm baths for them, rub your ankles, massage your feet.
- Choose clothes and shoes that do not pinch the limbs and put pressure on them.
- In the evening, while resting, raise your legs above the level of the body, you can throw it on the wall, while the blood flow will improve.
- Choose a comfortable position for sleeping, in which there is no pressure on the vena cava and pressure on the internal organs.
- Prevent hypothermia of the extremities, insulate your legs.
- Do gymnastic exercises.
Gymnastics against leg cramps for pregnant women
Simple gymnastic exercises that help against cramps in the legs of pregnant women:
- Stand on your toes 10 times, repeat the exercise several times during the day.
- Do lunges forward alternately with each leg. This exercise will help stretch your muscles.
- Stand facing the wall, rest your hands on it, step back in small steps so that the torso remains motionless.
To prevent convulsive manifestations and pain in the muscles of the legs, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle, eat right, take vitamins that restore metabolism, and listen to your doctor. Attitude to one’s health should be as responsible as possible, regardless of the gestational age. Take care of yourself and be healthy!