Common Health Issues / Pregnancy Health + Wellness

Leg Cramps During Pregnancy: Causes and Preventive Measures

What Are Leg Cramps During Pregnancy?

Leg cramps are contractions of muscles that have a direct effect on foot or calf in legs. These cramps are involuntary and very painful and they mostly happen at night when the pregnant body rolls over or stretches unconsciously. Cramps during pregnancy occur mostly in third and second semester when body has to adjust with added weight and size of unborn baby in expanding uterus.

Causes of Cramps in Legs

Mothers who suffer from this discomfort ask what causes leg cramps during pregnancy frequently. Some common theories related to this question are as follows:-

  • Carrying added weight of unborn child is an important reason of suffering from cramps in legs
  • Pressure exerted by growing uterus can cause cramps as blood flow is not regular and even at such times
  • Leg cramps during early pregnancy can be caused by inactivity and can lead to stiffness and soreness of muscles
  • Swelling on feet and legs can cause cramps
  • Excessive work and stress can result in leg cramps
  • Leg cramps during pregnancy at night are caused by sudden movements
  • When vessels of blood become compressed because of some reason or other it can cause cramps in legs
  • The absence of a well-balanced and nutritious diet can lead to weakness and cramps in legs
  • Occasionally there is a shortage of magnesium or calcium in a body. This can cause leg cramps
  • An abundance of phosphorus can also result in leg cramps

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Preventive Measures of Leg Cramps

It is advisable to avoid cramps in legs during pregnancy by taking certain preventive measures. These are as follows-

  • Before going to sleep, it is sensible to attempt some gentle stretching exercises so that it becomes possible to avoid cramps in legs during nighttime.
  • Physical activities at regular intervals might provide relief for cramps in legs, but it is necessary to consult a doctor before attempting any sort of physical activities
  • Taking magnesium supplements can provide relief from aching leg muscles but they are taken with the permission of a doctor
  • Drinking plenty of water keeps muscles hydrated and prevents cramps in legs. If urine of a patient is, darker yellow in color that means body is not receiving enough water.
  • Footwear is important during pregnancy. It is easy to avoid Leg cramping during pregnancy by selecting sensible shoes. They must be flat and must have a long counter to provide support and comfort to legs and feet.
  • Avoiding sitting in a particular place for a lengthy time with crossed legs is sensible precaution
  • It is necessary to avoid standing for a long period so that added weight on the legs is evaded
  • Keep rotating ankles and wriggling toes while sitting
  • Walking is an activity that is generally considered safe, until and unless advised against by a doctor. Regular walks will ease muscles in legs and avoid cramps to some extent.
  • Taking a lukewarm bath before bed relaxes the muscles and provides relief from discomfort and cramp to leg pain during pregnancy. It is essential to avoid very warm and hot baths, as they may prove harmful for baby.

A pregnant body becomes tired very quickly and hence it is precautionary to avoid too much work


This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Stephanie McClane About Author

Stephanie McClane is a mother of three and enjoys sharing the knowledge she gathered throughout her pregnancies. After approaching her last two pregnancies from a more holistic prespective and having two natural births, she was inspired to share her experiences with other moms-to-be.