"Leg cramps, or the more cutely named “charley horses”, are likely to be striking you at this stage in your pregnancy.
They are particularly unwelcome when they interfere with your much-needed sleep.
Muscle fatigue, fluid build-up, an excess of phosphorous or a deficiency of calcium, are all thought to be contributing factors to painful leg cramps. It can feel like you are being stabbed in the calf. Fortunately, it's easy to get relief. Here are a few simple things you can do that will help:
- Gently stretch your calf muscle by pointing and flexing your foot.
- Massage the muscle (or, better yet, wake up your partner and get him to do it!).
- Applying a hot water bottle is also helpful.
- Pacing will loosen the muscle up enough to provide relief too.
To prevent cramps:
- Stretch your legs regularly during the day.
- Be sure to get enough water.
- Take daily exercise.
- Follow a healthy diet.
- Make sure you're getting at least 1,000 mg of calcium a day (a warm glass of milk at bedtime will get you a third of the way there).
- Cut out soft drinks, which contain high amounts of phosphorous (and empty calories that aren't good for you).
- Take some time out of your day to elevate your feet for a few minutes whenever possible.
- Rotate your ankles and flex your feet while sitting at work or on the bus.