Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be exciting and somewhat exasperating at the same time. This is, especially when you get to the second and third trimester when various discomforts check in. 

With the weight of the baby increasing, you’re bound to feel the impact on your feet through leg cramps and sometimes, pain.  

Let’s look deeper at leg cramps and how to manage them.

What Are Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps are sharp and painful contractions that suddenly occur in your leg muscles, thighs or feet. They are often an indication that your muscles are seizing up when they should not. Leg cramps usually last from a few seconds to at least 10 minutes and mostly take place mostly while you’re asleep at night.

Why Leg Cramps Occur During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body experiences various changes that may likely cause leg cramps. Such are: 

  • The unborn child may consume more nutrients from your body thus leaving you with very little in your bloodstream. 
  • On your third trimester, the baby adds more weight hence straining your muscles. 
  • The weight from the womb can put pressure on the veins that supply blood to the legs, resulting in leg cramps.

How to Prevent Leg Cramps

During pregnancy, there are numerous things that you can put into consideration to prevent leg cramps. These are such as:

  • Ensure that your body and your baby gets enough nutrients and salt by taking supplements to avoid leg cramps
  • Be active by performing exercises on a daily routine to enable good circulation on both muscles and legs.
  • To open up your blood vessels, consider taking a warm bath at night before going to bed.

Managing Leg Cramps and When to Consult a Doctor

Getting rid of leg cramps can be done by stretching the calf muscles so as to relieve pain. Stretch the muscles by standing on the edge of a step and then lower your heels below the step’s level. Stay in that position for some seconds and bring back the heel to the starting position. 

Other ways to ease the cramps are such as: 

  • Massaging your calf and feet
  • Elevating your feet when you sit.
  • Using heat/ warm compress

If the pain persists, or if you notice any tenderness or swelling, consult a doctor.


Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: pregnancybirthbaby, docs.google, webmd

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