Calf cramps during pregnancy: The best tips & tricks for relief

WadenkrÀmpfe in der Schwangerschaft: Die besten Tipps & Tricks zur Linderung

They are uncomfortable and wake many people up in the middle of the night. Calf cramps during pregnancy are anything but pleasant. In fact, the complaints are not uncommon. The need for magnesium increases during pregnancy and often leads to cramps, which are usually felt in the calf. However, the causes can also be other.

This article will look at the causes of calf cramps and show you how best to deal with the symptoms. We will tell you the best tips & tricks that will help you to prevent calf cramps, but also to solve them with the help of immediate measures.

the essentials in brief

  • Women complain more often about calf pain during pregnancy, which usually occurs at night. The main reason for this is a magnesium deficiency, but it can also have a number of other causes.
  • If the pain has other causes, it should be found out as soon as possible whether there may be a disease such as thrombosis.
  • Calf cramps can be solved and prevented using different methods. If these methods do not help, you should consult a doctor.

get rid of cramps!

Try our liposomal magnesium now


  • Enriched with zinc, selenium, chromium and taurine đŸ§Ș
  • Developed for people who often suffer from cramps đŸ’Ș
  • Get a 21% discount now 💰*

Sunt Icon

*The discount is automatically applied to the product

Background: What you should know about calf cramps during pregnancy

Before we tell you about the tips and tricks for combating calf cramps, we will first answer the most important questions about calf cramps during pregnancy.

We have summarized and answered the most important questions for you below.

What is the main cause of leg cramps during pregnancy?

The main cause of the annoying and sometimes painful symptoms is usually a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is an essential mineral for our body. Among other things, it has the function of contributing to the stabilization and development of bones, but also of teeth. It also helps control muscles and nerves and maintain electrolyte balance.

Magnesium is ingested through food and should therefore also cover the daily requirement. Nevertheless, it can happen that the need for magnesium cannot be met and additional preparations in the form of dietary supplements have to be taken.

It is important that you do not take magnesium supplements without first consulting your doctor.

However, it is not always necessary to take the preparations, sometimes a diet rich in magnesium is actually sufficient.

pregnancy

Calf cramps are particularly common during pregnancy and are often due to a magnesium deficiency, since the daily requirement is increased during pregnancy. (Image source: freestocks.org / Pexels)

Especially during pregnancy, there is a slightly higher need for magnesium than normal. (1) Finally, there is another person in the body who also needs to be supplied with magnesium. The excretion of magnesium in the urine is also increased during pregnancy. There are basically two causes that can lead to a magnesium deficiency at the same time.

While the normal daily requirement for magnesium is 300 mg, it is 310 mg for pregnant women. Accordingly, taking magnesium during pregnancy can help reduce or even combat calf cramps. (2.3)

However, another cause can also be an incorrect diet, which means that the body does not absorb enough magnesium.

Why do I still have calf cramps without having a magnesium deficiency?

Even if the lack of magnesium in the body is probably the most common cause of calf cramps, it can also have other causes in some cases.

Other mineral deficiencies : In addition to magnesium, there are other minerals whose deficiency can lead to leg cramps. These include substances such as calcium, sodium and potassium. The best way to find out what mineral deficiency you have is with a simple blood test at the doctor's. Based on the result, the doctor can also tell you directly whether preparations are necessary or whether a simple intake through food is sufficient.

Medical conditions : There are also a number of medical conditions that can lead to cramps. These may include the following diseases: (4)

  • muscle diseases
  • neurological diseases
  • kidney disease
  • hypothyroidism
  • vascular diseases
  • metabolic disorders

Circulatory disorders: If you don't drink enough fluids or move too little, this can lead to circulatory disorders, which in turn can lead to cramps. That's why it's always important to drink a lot and get enough exercise.

Sometimes, however, certain diseases can also lead to circulatory disorders.

Sleeping position : In fact, an unfavorable sleeping position can also cause calf cramps. Overstretching muscles while sleeping can actually lead to cramps. It is therefore important to find a suitable sleeping position in which the legs can rest.

How important is magnesium in pregnancy?

Magnesium has a vital function in the body and is very important, especially during pregnancy, for both the mother and the child. It also reduces the chance of pregnancy complications. (5)

If you have a slight magnesium deficiency, you do not have to fear any serious consequences, but you should still make sure that you eat magnesium-rich products to cover your daily requirement.

Magnesium deficiency should not be underestimated, especially during pregnancy.

However, if there is a severe deficiency, undesirable side effects can also occur. This is because it can trigger premature labor because the uterus can contract, causing spasms and leading to premature birth. (1)

If you suspect a magnesium deficiency, you do not need to panic immediately. The doctor can easily check how severe the deficiency is, should one be present. With this information, your doctor can then help you take the necessary action.

Is too much magnesium harmful during pregnancy?

Too much magnesium is also undesirable during pregnancy. This means that magnesium preparations should only be taken if the doctor has really diagnosed an acute deficiency. So you should not take dietary supplements without medical advice.

So as long as you haven't consulted a doctor, you should first check whether your diet may be related to it and change it if necessary.

It is generally recommended to stop taking magnesium supplements after 37 weeks of gestation, as an excess of magnesium can lead to contractions being inhibited.

However, you should also make sure that there is no excess magnesium outside of pregnancy. This can also have unpleasant consequences such as gastrointestinal complaints or diarrhea.

How do I distinguish normal calf cramps from thrombosis?

Although having calf cramps does not automatically mean that you suffer from the vascular disease thrombosis, it can still be a sign of it.

Type Explanation
Simple calf cramps Leg cramps can last a few seconds or last up to ten minutes. They are often accompanied by persistent subsequent pain. (6) You can usually solve these with the help of immediate measures with home remedies or stretching and sufficient exercise.
thrombosis Manifests as swelling in the calf area or ankle. May also be accompanied by pain and cause a feeling of heaviness in the lower leg. A feeling of tension or pressure can also occur in the affected area. A slight discoloration of the skin can also indicate thrombosis.

If you experience protracted and frequent calf cramps, you should definitely go to the doctor and have yourself examined for suspicion. Thrombosis is a disease that should definitely not be underestimated. Because: the higher the stage, the more unpleasant the after-effects can be. In addition, the risk of getting thrombosis during pregnancy is four to five times higher. (7)

If you report to the doctor with calf cramps, in addition to the blood test, you may also be examined for other diseases in order to rule out diseases such as thrombosis.

Are cramps normal during pregnancy?

Yes, leg cramps are totally normal during pregnancy. Pregnant women very often suffer from the annoying symptoms. Especially due to the slightly increased need for magnesium and the increased excretion of magnesium, the symptoms often occur in pregnant women.

Suffer

Many pregnant women experience leg cramps during pregnancy. Although they are common, they should not be ignored. (Image Source: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels)

In most women, they occur mainly at night and are quite sudden. It is definitely a warning sign that something is missing in the body.

Nevertheless, one should not underestimate regular cramps and try to determine the cause so that they can be treated in good time.

get rid of cramps!

Try our liposomal magnesium now


  • Enriched with zinc, selenium, chromium and taurine đŸ§Ș
  • Developed for people who often suffer from cramps đŸ’Ș
  • Get a 21% discount now 💰*

Sunt Icon

*The discount is automatically applied to the product

When should I consult a doctor for leg cramps?

If the calf cramps only occur very rarely, you can try a magnesium-rich diet first. If the symptoms are still there, you should have your doctor examine you to determine the cause of the cramps.

If the calf cramps are regular or the pain that follows is long-lasting, a visit to the doctor should not be delayed. A visit to the doctor is always a good idea, especially if you suspect thrombosis or other illnesses.

Calf cramps during pregnancy: The best tips & tricks to counteract the pain

The symptoms usually appear suddenly at night and tear many pregnant women out of their sleep. Calf cramps can be very uncomfortable and are often accompanied by subsequent pain. Many women then ask themselves: What should I do?

Below we have listed tips and tricks against calf cramps. On the one hand, we will show you what immediate measures you can take to solve the cramps as quickly as possible. In order to prevent further calf cramps, we will also show you how you can prevent the symptoms.

Leg cramps Immediate action

stretching and movement

When you have a calf cramp, the first thing you should always do is try to stretch and lengthen your leg. (8.9) When stretching your leg, you should also tighten your toes, you will feel a much better stretch.

To achieve an even better stretch, you can also try to pull your toes towards you with your hand. Ultimately, it's important to feel a stretch in your calf. Whether the leg is fully extended or not is not particularly important.

Above all, additional movement is very helpful in this situation! It promotes blood circulation and can thus relieve cramps again.

The best thing to do is to walk around the apartment so that the cramp slowly resolves itself. The first few steps can still be a bit painful, but you will notice that the more you walk, the more the cramp will gradually subside.

warmth

Be it a warm shower or a simple hot water bottle or heat pad on your calf, you have to try what works best.

Heat stimulates blood circulation and also has a relaxing effect on the muscles.

But it is true: Heat can definitely help with the cramps.

You can also make a so-called "calf wrap". All you have to do is dampen a towel with hot/warm water and wrap it around your calf. If the cramp is not resolved quickly, you can simply repeat the process.

massage

A gentle massage can also help to relieve calf cramps, as this also promotes blood circulation. If you want, you can use a soothing massage oil.

As you get older, massaging your calf might be a little more difficult. It is best to ask your partner about this, who will then do it for you.

Prevention of calf cramps

Diet rich in magnesium

Since magnesium is considered the main cause of calf cramps, you should ensure you eat a magnesium-rich diet. Since you absorb magnesium through food, you do not necessarily need magnesium supplements if you have a magnesium deficiency, as long as it is not acute.

During pregnancy you have a magnesium daily requirement of 310mg, which you should cover. We have summarized the foods that are very rich in magnesium for you:

Groceries magnesium content
pumpkin seeds 535mg/100g
sunflower seeds 420mg/100g
bitter chocolate 290mg/100g
Cashews 270mg/100g
brown rice 160mg/100g
oatmeal 140mg/100g
White beans 140mg/100g
banana 36mg/100g

dietary supplements/preparations

If there is a lack of magnesium or other minerals, dietary supplements in the form of tablets, capsules or effervescent tablets can be taken. With this, the daily requirement can be covered and the symptoms should stop with the daily intake.

It is always important to discuss the intake of preparations with the doctor. If necessary, the doctor can order an examination to find out whether there is a deficiency of one of the minerals at all and to what extent the intake of these supplements is necessary.

avoid stress

Stress can actually also be a cause that leads to magnesium deficiency. (10) In general, you should not be exposed to too much stress during pregnancy. So try to stay away from stress as much as possible and relax as much as possible.

If you want to relieve some stress, you can do yoga, meditate or simply take a relaxing bath in the evening. For many, physical activity is also a good stress reliever.

Movement

Exercise will not only help you to increase circulation, but also strengthen your calf muscles. Simple and regular walks are sufficient. Of course, you can also do sports and go jogging or cycling regularly.

Regular stretching exercises are also a very helpful method. Just as stretching can relieve calf cramps, so can you prevent it! You can simply do some stretching and gymnastics exercises or just do some yoga.

yoga during pregnancy

Because of the mix of movement and stretching, yoga is perfect for preventing calf cramps. (Image source: freestocks.org / Pexels)

When you are resting, you can also put your legs a little higher, this can relieve the blood vessels and also relax the muscles. To do this, you can simply put your legs on a pillow. This method is also recommended at night, because it is precisely at this time that people tend to have calf cramps.

Drink enough

A lack of fluids, electrolytes or minerals can also trigger cramps. Mineral water contains magnesium, calcium and sodium, i.e. precisely the substances whose deficiency can cause calf cramps.

In general, drinking a lot is always important! Therefore, try to drink about 1.5-2 liters per day.

However, low fluid intake can also mean that blood circulation is no longer stimulated well enough, which can ultimately lead to cramps.

find out the cause

In any case, it is important not to ignore frequently occurring calf cramps, but to find out the cause of the symptoms. This is the only way they can be prevented. The body gives a sign that something is wrong and it should therefore not be underestimated.

It is best to start by looking to see if a magnesium deficiency is an option. You can first see if you have any other symptoms that lead to magnesium deficiency. This includes:

  • Inner unrest
  • Headache
  • tiredness and exhaustion
  • sleep disorders
  • Gastrointestinal complaints

However, if that is not the cause of the calf cramps, it will not help you to continue taking more magnesium. If the symptoms still do not go away despite a magnesium-rich diet, your doctor should find out what other causes could be.

Conclusion

Calf cramps during pregnancy are not uncommon. If the calf cramps occur more frequently, it is best to find the cause of the symptoms. Even if the main cause is magnesium deficiency, there can also be other causes that should not be underestimated.

Always try to use immediate measures such as stretching, heat, massage and/or exercise for calf cramps. So that the symptoms do not continue to occur in the future, try to prevent them with the help of a magnesium-rich diet, sufficient exercise and drinking and also reducing stress. If none of these measures work, have your doctor examine you.

itemizations

      Dalton LM, Ni Fhloinn DM, Gaydadzhieva GT, Mazurkiewicz OM, Leeson H, Wright CP. Magnesium in pregnancy. Nutr Rev. 2016;74(9):549-557.
Source
      Supakatisant C, Phupong V. Oral magnesium for relief in pregnancy-induced leg cramps: a randomized controlled trial. Matern Child Nutr. 2015;11(2):139-145
Source
      Dahle LO, Berg G, Hammar M, Hurtig M, Larsson L. The effect of oral magnesium substitution on pregnancy-induced leg cramps. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995;173(1):175-180.
Source
      Reichel G. Calf cramps--differential diagnosis and therapy. Med Jahresschr Pharm. 2009;32(3):80-86.
Source
      Zarean E, Tarjan A. Effect of Magnesium Supplement on Pregnancy Outcomes: A Randomized Control Trial. Adv Biomed Res. 2017;6:109. Published 2017 Aug 31.
Source
      Hallegraeff J, de Greef M, Krijnen W, van der Schans C. Criteria in diagnosing nocturnal leg cramps: a systematic review. BMC Family Practice. 2017;18(1):29. Published 2017 Feb 28.
Source
      James AH. Thrombosis in pregnancy and maternal outcomes. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2015;105(3):159-166.
Source
      Riley JD, Antony SJ. Leg cramps: differential diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 1995;52(6):1794-1798.
Source
      Diener HC, Westphal K. Differential diagnosis and treatment of muscle spasms (Crampi) [Differential diagnosis and treatment of cramps]. MMW Fortschr Med. 2013;155 Suppl 3:83-86.
Source
      Cuciureanu MD, Vink R. Magnesium and stress. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, eds. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. Adelaide (AU): University of Adelaide Press; 2011
Source
Back to blog
Vorheriger Beitrag

NĂ€chster Beitrag

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.