Having cramps is a common thing in women during pregnancy. You may have cramps at any time during pregnancy. Surveys show that 90% of pregnant women will have cramps during the last 3 months of pregnancy. Although it is a common condition, cramps may be one of the signs that your body is having problems or lacking nutrients. If they are not handled well, cramps may affect your health. To deal with the cramps during pregnancy, you need to understand about cramps. There are many causes of this phenomenon as well as how to handle it. Here are some things you should know about cramps to help you. Let’s check them out
Signs of Cramps.
Cramping is a sign that your muscles in a part of your body are contracting more tightly than usual. You may feel that part can not move and accompanied by severe sudden, sharp pain.
A lot of people think that cramps only happen in the legs. However, any muscle can get cramping. Cramping or Muscle contraction may happen in a few seconds to a few minutes then they fade away and come back again. Legs, thighs, feet, hands, abdominal muscles are the parts that are more likely to have cramps. Sometimes, you may have cramps in the lower abdominal muscles. You may find this kind of cramp feels similar to menstrual cramps due to the uterus contraction.
Whether day or night cramps can happen out of nowhere. But they often come at night time and they will affect your precious sleep.
The Cause Of Cramping
Increase body weight and uterine size
Towards the end of pregnancy, as your baby grows bigger, you will gain weight quite rapidly. This puts a lot of pressure on the muscles in your legs. Furthermore, your lower limb muscles also have to exercise more to support your body weight. Because they have to work more than usual, those muscles will be more prone to fatigue which leads to sudden cramps.
Besides, Your uterus is forced to expand to create a space for your baby. As a result, the muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus are stretched. Different blood vessels like vessels under the feet, vessels to the heart and vessels of nerves from the spinal cord to the legs are also strongly compressed. This leads to cramps in your legs and lower abdominal muscles.
Lack of necessary nutrients
Excess phosphorus or potassium will cause your body to have electrolyte disorders. If you are dehydrated and are not compensated in time, the blood circulation in your body will slow down. Thus, cramps will come
In the last trimester, your baby will be developing fast to be ready for birth. Therefore, maternal calcium demand also increases accordingly. When not getting enough calcium, your body tends to draw available calcium and supply to your baby. This makes your body unbalanced and cramping will occur.
Cramps can also be caused by standing still for too long. When you sneeze, cough or laugh, you will also cause sudden pressure in your abdomen which lead to cramps
How To Deal With Cramps During Pregnancy
If you have leg cramps, stretch the leg muscles on the affected side. Walking and then raising your legs can help the cramps to fade away. A warm bath and some massages will help as well. I recommend warm stone massage as it is so relaxing and also helps with your cramps. If you tend to have leg cramps at night, you should try to do some light exercise before going to bed. Doing this will stretch your muscles and warm up your body. For example, you can try to do some prenatal yoga for a few minutes before going to bed.
Having enough nutrients is also important to deal with cramps. You should supply more magnesium & calcium to your body. Some suggest foods for your whole grains, legumes, dried fruits, and nuts. Keeping yourself hydrated is crucial as well. So try to drink enough water every day.
And of course, You should take the time to rest. As your baby grows, your body will have to work harder and it will be easier to be tired. Cramps are more likely to come then. You should take a nap when it is possible and go to bed earlier at night. Being relaxed and avoiding stress will be a huge help as well
In rare cases, cramps cause intense pain due to a blood clot that causes a blockage. If you experience severe and persistent pain accompanied by signs of redness in the legs, you should immediately call or see your doctor for prompt treatment.
How To Prevent Cramping During Pregnancy
Here are some tips to help you prevent cramps:
Avoid standing or sitting for too long in a position. If you are working at the office, make sure you spent your time stretching the calves. Move your legs after every working hour.
Avoid doing hard work or doing something too hard. You should Maintain a rhythmic and moderation movement routine.
- Doing exercise during pregnancy with light exercises such as yoga or walking will help the blood flow and metabolism in your body work more smoothly.
- You should spend some time performing a gentle massage, start from the thigh to calf, foot, and toes to improve your blood circulation.
- Put your feet up on high pillows while you sleep. Should lie on the left side to help the circulation of blood throughout the body, especially the calf area. A pregnancy pillow is useful as well
- Choose suitable shoes. Too tight soo will make your foot hurt and make your blood circulation in the feet area harder. You should choose shoes that help you walk comfortably.
- Keep yourself relaxed and avoid stress. A warm bath is recommended
- Drink plenty of water every day. At least 2 – 2.5 liters of water per day will help you limit the dehydration
See your doctor immediately if cramps become worse
Having constant cramps is not a good thing. It affects both your physical and mental health as you will become worried and stressed. This may lead to many consequences. See your doctor immediately if:
- You have menstrual bleeding and it does not stop or be more frequent;
- Severe sharp pain appears in your abdomen area or on the top of the shoulder;
- Your Body temperature rises and you feel unwell;
- You have trouble urinating;
- When you are too worried and need to check to be assured
There you go, now you have things you should know about cramps. Do you have other tips to fight cramps? Share with us in the comments