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Leg Cramps in Pregnancy

Painful muscle contractions or cramps appear during pregnancy. A sharp spasm can wake you up in the middle of the night. It lasts from a few seconds to several minutes. This disease most often affects the calf muscles. The main cause of seizures lies in the violation of the balance of trace elements. This is expressed in the lack of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins.

Sudden muscle spasms appear in the evening and at night. This symptom may occur during the day but not often. It all depends on the cause that stimulates muscle spasms. It can be anemia, varicose veins, low glucose levels, hypothermia, and so on.

When Leg Cramps Start in Pregnancy?

Leg cramps predominantly occur in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Cases of muscle spasms can be recorded in the first month of pregnancy. The onset of active manifestation of seizures is associated with an increased load on the muscles of the legs, a deficiency of trace elements, and problems with blood circulation.

The risk of seizures increases if the pregnancy is multiple. They can manifest themselves in the first trimester.


The first cases of leg cramps appear in the 4th week. This symptom manifests itself more actively in the second trimester from the 18th to the 20th week.

Cramping may appear at the 24th and 27th weeks. The risk of seizures increases closer to childbirth. Muscle spasms may again disturb at night at 39-40 weeks.

Leg Cramps weeks

When will it end?

The end of convulsions is timed to the last weeks of trimesters. The first symptoms disappear by the end of the first month, but at this time the symptom rarely occurs. Frequent second-trimester cramps go away after 27 weeks. Convulsions in prenatal periods end after the 39-40th week of pregnancy. Muscle spasms may appear earlier and disappear by the 36th week if the pregnancy is multiple.

How Do Leg Cramps during Pregnancy Feel?

A woman experiences pain in the calf muscles during leg cramps. They can have a different character – bursting, pressing, sharp, sharp, sudden pains of contractions. Harbingers of cramps are sensations of heaviness in the legs, burning sensation, and fatigue. Symptoms of seizures can be acute or mild, depending on the health of the legs of the pregnant woman.


This is a sharp and sudden stiff pain in the calf region that cramps the legs, paralyzes movement, and lasts for several minutes. There is an uncontrollable feeling of strong tension in the muscle. It hardens and does not lend itself to relaxation and spasms.


Muscle spasms in a mild form are expressed by short-term contractions, with a feeling of tension, without severe pain. This spasm lasts no more than a few seconds. Quickly comes relief and relaxation of the calf muscle.

Leg cramps should not last long and occur frequently. This manifestation is a sign of serious health problems.

Prevention methods

It is possible to prevent the appearance of leg cramps during pregnancy only at the stage of preparation for conception. Preventive measures include a set of measures aimed at a healthy lifestyle. It includes emphasis on proper nutrition, the rejection of bad habits, and exercise.

The sooner you take preventive measures, the more effective the result will be. Consider the main ways to prevent leg cramps:

Complete rejection of bad habits

Drinking alcohol and smoking are bad for vascular health. This increases the risk of circulatory problems and provokes the formation of blood clots and varicose veins. The deficiency of vitamins and microelements occurs under the influence of bad habits. These disorders are common causes of uncontrolled muscle spasms.

Leg workout

A set of exercises aimed at improving blood circulation and maintaining muscle tone will help reduce the risk of leg cramps. You can practice a contrast shower, massage with essential oils, or salt baths for the feet. These measures can be used in early pregnancy.

Balanced menu

Nutrition during pregnancy planning should be aimed at eliminating micronutrient deficiencies. Eat foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The menu should include a lot of meat and other products containing B vitamins. Eat omega fatty acids, lots of greens, and protein.

Why Leg Cramps happen in Pregnancy?

The causes of seizures during pregnancy are a strong deficiency of trace elements: potassium, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins. The consumption of these elements during gestation is very high. The loss of vitamins and microelements increases if a woman eats poorly and she has vomiting during the period of toxicosis.

Another cause of leg cramps can be anemia. The baby has a huge need for iron. It draws this microelement from the mother’s body. Iron deficiency causes anemia. Legs can be reduced at any time of the day with this ailment.

You can highlight the expansion of the veins, low blood glucose, hypothermia, and dehydration among the causes that provoke convulsions. A woman in a position is more vulnerable. She experiences a strong load on the limbs, blood vessels, and all body systems.


The doctor may prescribe treatment depending on the severity of the symptoms and their frequency. It includes means aimed at reducing the discomfort: massage, rubbing, warming up, and exercises. Other means require a long and purposeful reception. Consider the main ways to help with seizures:

Stretch muscle

Help with a sudden onset of leg cramps is to stretch the spasmodic muscle. Pull your foot towards you. This will stretch the calf muscle and reduce spasms. Rub your caviar and try to walk after such an exercise. This method quickly restores blood circulation, relaxes muscles, and relieves tension.

Warming up the muscles

Try to keep your leg warm if a cramp starts. You can make a hot foot bath or pour the area of ​​the calf muscle with the most tolerable hot water. Wrap the muscle in a warm blanket or woolen scarf. This can be done for prevention every time before going to bed. Strengthen the flow of blood to the muscles by taking a position with your feet up.

Reception of vitamins and microelements

It is better to undergo an examination and identify the problem if leg cramps occur on an ongoing basis, they are strong and protracted. The doctor will prescribe in such a situation a prenatal complex of vitamins or individual trace elements which are the least in the body.  The intake of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B vitamins will restore balance and normalize the work of all body systems.


Urgently consulting a doctor is necessary for eclampsia. This is a dangerous disease during pregnancy, expressed in increased convulsive activity accompanied by a critical increase in blood pressure. Eclampsia is a serious threat to the life and health of mother and child.

It is necessary to consult a doctor in case of severe vitamin deficiency, too frequent and painful cramps, or spasms not only in the legs but also in other parts of the body. This may be due to neurological problems.

What Not to Do

It is worthwhile to thoroughly consider prohibitions during pregnancy that will help eliminate the appearance of leg cramps. It can be cardinal changes in nutrition, lifestyle, and physical activity. You need to get rid of bad habits. It is not recommended to smoke and drink alcohol. What exactly should not be done if leg cramps appear during pregnancy:

Pierce the muscle

This method is extremely cardinal and should not be used. This is too outdated and a very radical way to quickly relieve muscle spasms.


It is better to sit down or lie down if the spasm caught you by surprise. Strong muscle contraction can lead to a more serious injury when walking.

Take painkillers

The origin of pain in leg cramps is different and it cannot be eliminated by painkillers. The duration of spasms is minute and waiting for the action of the pills can take up to half an hour.

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