- Massage the muscle. These cramps can be extremely uncomfortable
and often awaken you with a painful startle. When the cramp occurs, you can
massage the cramped muscle or have your mate rub it to promote circulation.
- Walk it off. Walk if you can. Getting up and moving around
works the best.
- Stretch it out. If the cramp is severe, lie in bed, grab the
toes of your hurting leg, and pull them back toward your head while keeping your
knee straight and as close to the mattress as you can. Remember to stretch
gradually, avoiding lunging or bouncing movements, which only aggravate the
cramp and may even injure the muscles. If your tummy bulge prevents you from
bending forward enough to grab your toes, simply straighten your leg out,
pressing the back of your knee into the mattress, flexing your toes toward your
- Try supplements. While a calcium-phosphorus imbalance is
unlikely to be the cause of your leg cramps, if exercises don’t work to relieve
leg cramps, you might want to give your calcium supplements a try. Consult with
your healthcare provider about taking extra calcium tablets (calcium carbonate)
that do not contain phosphorus. In a recent study, women who took magnesium
tablets daily experienced less leg cramps. Unless your practitioner advises, it
is not safe to eat a low-phosphorus diet while pregnant.
- Exercise the muscles. The following exercises will help to
relieve cramps when they happen, and if you do them faithfully, may prevent
- Standing calf stretch. Place the leg with the cramped muscles a foot or so
behind your other leg. While keeping your back straight, gently bend the knee
on the non-cramped leg so you lean forward, while keeping the cramped leg
straight and its heel to the floor. (The forward leg also keeps its heel to the
floor.) Don’t bounce; just stretch gently. You may find it easier to balance
if you press your hands or forearms against the wall while doing this stretching
- Wall push-ups. Place your hands flat against the wall and step back until
your arms are fully extended. Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back
straight, lean in toward the wall while bending your elbows. You should feel
your calf muscles stretch comfortably. If it’s too much of a stretch, stand
closer to the wall.
- Sitting leg stretches. Sitting on the floor, stretch one leg out to the
side, foot flexed. Fold your other leg in, foot toward your crotch. While
keeping your outstretched leg straight, bend forward and reach toward your toe.
Hold this stretched position for a few seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Don’t
point your toes straight out and pull your heel toward you since that contracts
the muscles that are already cramped.
Another occupational side effect of pregnancy is numbness or tingling in the hands. This pins-and-needles or burning sensation usually involves the thumb, first two fingers, and half of the ring finger, and may be accompanied by pain in the wrist that can shoot all the way up to the shoulder. Sometimes you may feel soreness when you press the inner surface of your wrist. This condition is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by excess fluid that collects around the narrow carpal tunnel beneath the wrist. The nerves pass through this tunnel on the way to your hand, and pressure from the fluid makes them numb or tingly. Carpal tunnel symptoms are likely to occur during the night, after a daylong accumulation of fluid in the wrists, or when you wake up in the morning, especially if you sleep with your arm under your head.