Women's Wellness

5 Best Ways to Help Ease Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on - 27 October 2022, Updated on - 22 May 2024

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Being pregnant isn't a stroll in the park. Women who are pregnant often get bloated, feel sick in the morning, have backaches, and sometimes suffer severe cramps in their legs.  It's reported that these cramps usually happen in their calves, are more common at night, and the intensity gravens all the more by the start of second or third trimester.


In fact, since the body is constantly changing during pregnancy, nearly half of all pregnant women complain of muscle spasms, swelling, and heaviness in their legs by the third trimester. Read on as we discuss the top five ways to ease leg cramps during pregnancy.


Keeping Active

"Being inactive raises the pressure in the veins in the legs, which can lead to varicose veins in the long run," says Dr. Nihar Ranjan, a vascular surgeon at Apollo Hospitals in Jubilee Hills. Therefore he suggests, it's good for the mother to go for a walk once in a while instead of sitting still for a long time. Walking makes small arteries in the legs widen, which increases blood flow and can help ease leg cramps.


Applying Heat

You can either use a heating pad or hot water bag to put heat on the painful part of your leg, or simply put your legs in hot water for 5–10 minutes. The funda is simple! Heat helps loosen up the tight muscles, which in turn increases blood flow, and help relax your muscle cramps.


Opting for Stockings

The easiest way to prevent leg cramps is by putting on class 2 stockings. These will apply controlled pressure to the legs and squeeze the veins, making sure that blood flows back to the heart as it should. "Class 2 stockings give 30–35% pressure to the legs," says Dr. Ranjan. But most importantly, you need to know your ankle and calf size before buying the stockings." He also says, "It's best to put on stockings every day after you shower in the morning and take them off before bed."


Alsowatch "How to Avoid Leg Cramps During Pregnancy" by Dr. Nihar Ranjan.


Stretch Your Calves

You can prevent leg cramps while you're pregnant by stretching your calves before bed. Calf stretches help get your calf muscles activated, which makes you more flexible and eases muscle pain. Just follow these simple steps to stretch your calf muscles.

1. Hold on to a chair and keep one leg back with a straight knee and a flat heel on the floor. 

2. Bend your elbows and front knee slowly, and move your hips forward until you feel your calf stretching. 

3. Hold on to this position for 30 to 60 seconds. 

4. Switch legs and do the same thing with the other leg.


Massaging Your Calf Muscles

Leg cramps can be relieved by massaging your calves, which improves the elasticity of your tissues and makes you more flexible. This makes your muscles less tight and increases blood flow. For best results, we suggest you use warm coconut oil.


Final Note

While consistent discomfort and slight pain is an inherent part of the pregnancy, the above-mentioned home remedies should effectively help provide some considerable relief. However, if the leg pain doesn't go away, and instead keeps rising, we suggest you talk to our doctors directly. They can screen through the individual issues and help plan a more personalised solution that works best for you and your pregnancy.


Book Your Appointment with Dr. Nihar Ranjan Pradhan


Medically Reviewed by Dr. Dhanunjay Reddy

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