Pregnancy brings with it, its own share of problems and pains. There are many side effects of pregnancy, which can cause discomfort to a woman. Leg cramping or pain in the calf muscles, is one of these highly discomforting, commonly experienced side effects. Given below are the causes and a few effective home remedies, that can help prevent and reduce the severity of the pain.
Causes of Calf Muscle Pain During Pregnancy
Calf muscle pain could result from a number of reasons, the most common one being the strain that is caused on the legs due to the extra weight that the woman puts on when she is pregnant. It is commonly experienced after the second trimester, when the woman grows in size considerably. Another common reason behind this condition is the increasing size of the uterus. When the uterus expands, it puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves located near the legs, thus leading to pain in the calves. Lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the pregnant woman's diet, dehydration, problems in blood circulation owing to changes in the body, staying in the same position for long, are some of the other possible causes behind this condition.
Remedies for Calf Pain in Pregnant Women
Taking a healthy, balanced diet is extremely important during pregnancy. The body should be supplied with the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, minerals, vitamins and fats, so that there is no weakness or cramping of the leg muscles. Taking prenatal vitamins helps immensely. Research has shown that magnesium is useful in treating leg cramps, so include magnesium supplements in the diet, after consulting a doctor. A pregnant woman should always keep a bottle of water handy and sip water from it throughout the day, to avoid dehydration.
For reducing calf pain during pregnancy, women should undertake some exercises to stretch their legs. One of the simplest exercise is to sit with legs laid out in the front. After this, the heels should be stretched out and the toes pointed towards the ceiling. Hold in this position for about five seconds and then come back to normal. Repeat this exercise ten times to get relief from the pain and discomfort. Besides this, all pregnant women should make a habit of walking for about half an hour everyday. This exercise will keep the legs in motion, thus preventing cramping in the process.
Massaging the legs and undertaking heat treatment by way of hot water bottle, can prove to be very effective. These remedies should be especially followed before sleeping as the pain is commonly experienced while a woman is sleeping. Taking a warm water bath before bedtime helps too, although this should be undertaken after consulting the midwife. A woman who experiences calf muscle pain should avoid sitting or sleeping in the same posture for long. Sitting cross-legged for a long period should be avoided. The woman should practice sleeping on the left side, as it helps in preventing circulation problems.
Leg cramps during pregnancy is something that should not be a cause of concern in most cases. It will go away by itself, after the delivery of the child. Taking enough rest, keeping the legs in an elevated position for some time everyday, in addition to the remedies suggested above, should do the trick. However, if the pain is very severe and is accompanied by symptoms like inflammation, redness and tenderness in the legs, there could be some underlying health condition behind it. In such a case, a doctor should be contacted for thorough diagnosis and treatment.