Many women experience leg cramps during pregnancy. According to Web MD, the pressure from a growing uterus on the nerves leading to the legs and blood vessels that carry blood from the legs back to the heart may cause leg cramps or sharp leg pain. Carrying extra body weight appears to be a contributing factor to leg cramps and pain in the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Although it may be bothersome during the day, leg pain is generally experienced at night interrupting sleep. Seeking natural remedies for leg cramps and leg pain eliminates the risks associated with pain medication during pregnancy.
Natural Remedies for Leg Cramps and Leg Pain During Pregnancy
Taking a walk or engaging in mild exercise on a daily basis increases circulation in the legs and provides a natural remedy for leg cramps and pain. It also reduces weight gain, which may be a contributing factor to leg pain or cramps during pregnancy. A short 10-minute walk is invigorating, improves health and circulation and reduces fatigue. Get in the habit of taking a walk every morning to reduce leg pain and cramps.
Wearing flat or low-heeled shoes reduces the strain on leg muscles. Avoid wearing heels whenever possible. If you must wear heels to work, remove them while at your desk to rest tired feet and avoid standing or walking in them for prolonged periods. Look for comfortable dress shoes with low heels as a natural remedy for leg cramps and pain during pregnancy.
Elevate Your Legs
Take the opportunity to elevate your legs whenever possible during the day. Rest tired legs on a small stool or another chair during breaks or lunch time and develop the habit of putting your feet up as soon as you get home from work. Elevating your legs gives tired muscles the opportunity to relax and increases circulation that decreases the risk of leg cramps and leg pain.
Avoid Crossing Your Legs
Crossing your legs restricts blood flow to the lower portion of your legs making them susceptible to cramps and pain. Practicing this natural remedy for leg cramps and pain provides relief from pain associated with poor circulation.
Wear Support Hose
Many women find wearing support hose during pregnancy an effective natural remedy for leg pain and cramps. Avoid leg coverings that are too tight or restrictive. A good pair of support hose should be comfortable while providing gentle support for tired legs.
Sleep on Your Left Side
Sleeping on your left side increases circulation and reduces the pressure from the uterus on your spine. Sleeping on your back increases the pressure from the uterus on blood vessels and slows circulation and is likely to result in leg pain or cramps during the night. Consider a body pillow or a small pillow between the knees to alleviate pressure on the back if you find this position uncomfortable. Altering your sleep position provides a natural remedy for leg cramps and leg pain in the night.
Get Plenty of Calcium
It is unclear whether a lack of calcium causes leg pain and cramps during pregnancy, but it may be a contributing factor. Eat plenty of calcium rich foods like low fat milk and cheese or broccoli to insure you get enough calcium in your diet. Eating calcium rich foods provides a natural remedy for leg pain and cramps during pregnancy.
Stretch Leg Muscles Before Bed
Take a few minutes to stretch your legs before bedtime. Gentle exercises to stretch the calf muscles often prevent leg cramps and pain during the night. Avoid exercises that require you to point your toes as this may result in immediate cramping. Stretching leg muscles prior to bedtime provides a natural remedy for leg pain and cramps in the night.
Soothe Sore Muscles with Heat
Leg cramps and pain may cause tender or sore muscles. Treat them with gentle heat from a heating pad or hot water bottle to relax the muscles and ease the pain. Gentle massage to the area also relaxes muscles and often brings relief from the pain experienced after leg cramps.
Treating leg cramps and pain during pregnancy with natural remedies provides pain relief without the risks associated with pain medications. Taking simple measures to increase circulation and reduce pressure on the back and legs reduces the risk of leg cramps or pain in the night reducing interruptions in sleep.