So there I was, enjoying an all to rare good night of sleep when I suddenly awoke in desperate pain! It felt like five fire-breathing dragons were focusing all their wrath on my right calf. I must have shrieked or yelped in pain because my amazing husband was suddenly rubbing my calf. That’s right, he knew exactly what it was…the dreaded pregnancy leg cramps! The sneaky visitor that startles you painfully out of those precious good nights of sleep that you so desperately need.
Of course, everyone has advice about how to avoid these dreaded cramps by moving your toes this way or that way prior to fully stretching your leg. But here is the problem, you do it in your sleep! You are not consciously choosing to stretch your leg so you can’t consciously choose to flex your foot a certain way first!
1) Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. That’s right chug those 2 liters of water per day. This is the most widely recognized prevention technique and is certainly a good practice during pregnancy and really all the time.
2) Stretch often and gently during your waking hours to prevent tension from building up in your muscles.
2a. If you stretch in bed at night, flex your foot as you stretch out your leg and before pointing your toes. This helps to prevent leg cramps.
3) Get your 30 minutes of exercise daily, this should help to keep you limber and help reduce stress build up which leads to that lovely tension.
4) Take Magnesium and Calcium supplements at night. I started taking calcium at night from the beginning of my pregnancy. I heard it helps to relax and sleep and that pregnant women need even more calcium than women usually need. A few readers recommended that I add Magnesium to my nightly routine to ward off leg cramps. It worked! I’ve been taking Magnesium for 2-3 weeks now and have not had an episode of leg cramps since!
5) Prepare your husband/partner to instantly perform calf massages if you squeal or yelp in pain in the middle of the night.
Below is my favorite canteen for getting that water down while at work or out and about (the Neptune Blue is gorgeous). Some people opt for the large 1 liter but I prefer the smaller 20 oz, as it forces me to stand up and walk to fill my water bottle a few times a day.