Pregnancy: Leg Cramps in the calf muscles and feet, by Julie Clarke

Pregnancy: Leg Cramps in the calf muscles and feet

Cramps occur as sudden muscle spasms and tightens in the calf muscles of the legs, and in the arch of the foot and can be quite painful for pregnant women.

Some experts say it is caused by an imbalance of the calcium/phosphorous/magnesium ratio in the body and many pregnant women do find their cramps disappear after they commence taking a good quality calcium supplement.

Cramps are also caused by when the enlarged pregnant uterus exerts pressure on pelvic blood vessels, impairing circulation, and on nerves supplying the lower extremities.

Increase intake of calcium rich foods such as canned fish with bones for example canned salmon with the bones left in as they are an excellent source of calcium, if the bones bother you just crush them up with a fork and then you won’t notice them, kelp, dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese, milk which is calcium enriched, sesame and sunflower seeds, tahini paste or spread, particularly the dark colored tahini as this has far more calcium than the light colored tahini and plenty of dark green vegetables, such as nettle leaves as salad, delicious broccoli heads, leaves, and stems, as well as baby bok choy and the vast array of lovely Chinese leafy vegetables are all a good source of calcium.

Nutritionists advise that the consumption of caffeine drinks and carbonated drinks, such as Cola, “spend” calcium from the human body as they are being metabolized in the intestinal tract, so they are best avoided where possible.

Drink nettle tea and raspberry leaf tea for calcium

Interestingly, many women find that by taking calcium and magnesium supplements they are able to completely rid themselves of cramps, inevitably they sometimes forget or run out of tablets and the cramps return, so it turns into something of a science experiment for them as they “prove” the calcium vs cramps theory.

When pregnant women return to their calcium supplements again they usually find within about 4 days or so their cramps are gone again… big relief!

When a foot or leg cramp occurs, sit on the floor, straighten your legs and point your toes up, massage your leg gently, when you can, get up and walk around.

Refer to the New Active Birth Book by Janet Balaskas for suitable stretches and remedies for cramps.

Have a hot foot bath containing 10 drops of lavender oil before bed

Put a towel soaked in hot water and then rung out well, as a hot compress on the sore sensitive cramp affected area, or use a hot water bottle or wheat heat bag to ease and relax the cramped muscles to assist them to release and relax.

Have regular leg massages either from your partner or from a qualified pregnancy massage therapist.