Cramps in your legs and feet during pregnancy: See what to do

Cramps in your legs and feet during pregnancy

What causes it?

Cramps in your feet and legs are most common in the last 3 months of pregnancy. They can be caused by the pressure of your uterus on the blood vessels and nerves that connect to your legs. They can also be caused by pointing your toes when you stretch.

What can I do about it?

• Stay active. Exercise will provide more circulation to your legs.
• Be careful not to point your toes when you stretch, especially when you first wake up in the morning.
• Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid wearing high heels.
• Avoid standing for long periods of time.
• Avoid crossing your legs.
• Wrap ice in a wet towel and place it on the cramped muscle. Leave it there for 10 to 12 minutes to help relax your muscles.
• If you do get a muscle cramp, do not massage, squeeze, or press on it. Blood vessels bruise easily, and pressure will only make the cramp worse. The best thing to do is to stretch gently.  
Cramps in your legs and feet during pregnancy
For foot cramp:
  1. Sit down. Keep the cramped leg straight. Bend the other knee.
  2. Slowly flex the toes of the cramped foot towards your nose.
  3. Hold your legs this way until the cramp goes away.

For leg cramp:
  1. Sit on the floor, near a wall.
  2. Using your cramped leg, press the bottom of your foot against the wall. Keep your other leg bent.
  3. With your arms straight, lean back on your hands for support.
  4. Pressing your foot into the wall, slowly straighten your cramped leg until the back of your knee touches the floor.
  5. Hold your leg this way until the cramp goes away.

What if none of this helps?

• Talk to your doctor if you have painful cramps often.
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