118 answers

Unusual Legs Cramps

My wife (soon to be 1st time mother in June) has been having cramps in her legs the last little while. It is only in one leg (calf to be more specific). It happens a couple times a week and then she is sore for a couple days. I know that she can't take alot of drugs to help with it. Does anyone know anything or have any suggestions. It is making her uncomfortable at night. She has tried to eat alot of bananas but that didn't seem to work either. Any help would be greatly appriciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Against all reason I placed a bar of soap at the end of our bed. So far my wife hasn't had another cramp. We have another doctors appointment this week so we will ask him about the other stuff, but so far the bar of soap seems to be working. Thanks for all the advice.

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Have her put a heating pad on the sore leg on low heat, and also elevate her legs. it will help the blood circulate to her legs better which will help with the cramping.

HEY! I am a 1st time mom and I experienced what you wife is experiencing. They are leg cramps and she doesnt need drugs. Tell her not to point her toes when she stretches. If she does, tell her to point her toes back towards her and massage her calf muscle. She can take a magnesium calcium supplement. Leg cramps are caused by a calcium deficency. hope that helps!


I had bad leg cramps too! I would be sore for days. My doctor told me to put a bar of Ivory Soap under my fitted sheet at night by my legs. I asked why that would help and she said she didn't know why, but it works. It did! As long as that soap was by my legs I didn't get cramps. But if it moved away from my legs, I did. Crazy, but it works.

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Hi I am a mother of four beautiful children and found that taking extra calcium when I was pregnant helped with the leg cramps. It is safe for both mom and baby too.

1 mom found this helpful

I used to get cramps in my calf muscles that were excrutiating while I was pregnant. I found that I lacked both calcium, vitiman E and potasium. I'm not a huge milk fan but I do like choc. milk so I would drink a Carnation Instant breakfast sometimes 3X a day - that seemed to help ALOT! I also was very careful not to point and flex my toes while I was in bed. That would trigger them instantly. Hopefully that will help - Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Every time I'm pregnant I get the same cramps in my calf. They are absolutely awful. During my last pregnancy (about 6 months ago), I read a medical article about leg cramps during pregnancy. It said that the only proven way to reduce these cramps was to stretch the muscle prior to going to sleep or resting. And when you first feel the onset of the cramp, jump up and put weight on the muscle & stretch it as soon as possible (walk around on it). I personally found that this reduced the number and intensity of my cramps. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I also got leg cramps i started taking Full spectrum minerals high in calcium about 1,000 mg a day. I did and my leg cramps went away. P.s. You can get them at any herb shop ask the cashier. C. A

Unfortunately, that is one of the "great" perks of being pregnant. It is a miserable, uncomfortable feeling that really has no remedies. More calcium is my suggestion. One thing I tried during my last pregnancy was when I stretched my legs, I tried not to point my toes. As long as I kept my foot flexed, I avoided the leg cramps.

Good Luck!

My husband has leg cramps and suggests quinine water. Check with your doctor or phamacist. I think it would be safe. He takes the pill form but feels the water would be less potent for you. Some have suggested a little salt but we haven't had sucess with that. S.

Leg cramps are normal during pregnancy, but I would still talk to your doctor. It could be a more serious prblem like a blood clot.
When your wife gets the cramps in her legs,first ask her if she would like for her leg to be rubbed, you don't want a mood swing up one side and down teh other. Rub her legs for her and after she gets out of the shower rub them then since the warm water will relax her a little.
Good luck with your baby.
If you are asking questions for your wifes welfare now I know you'll be a great dad.
Just keep asking your wife what you can do for her. Even if she doesn't say anything, she's appriciating all you're doing for her.
A happy pregnant woman is the best for everyone:)

Many women during pregnancy, experience similar leg and toe cramps. Your body is undergoing dramatic changes and minerals need to be supplemented at times, above what's in your normal prenatal multi. Whereas pregnant & lactating women need, at least, 355mg (elemental) magnesium, magnesium is necessary for nerve & muscle functioning, (i.e. muscle cramps) and combined with calcium can work as a natural tranquilizer. Chelated magnesium is best, but if you take Magnesium Oxide, be aware of loose bowels. Do not take straight magnexium after meals, since it neutralizes needed stomach acids, combined with calcium is best.Meat, fish and dairy are relatively poor sources, but nuts, seeds & green veggie probably supply ample magnesium normally. As always, check with your doctor before supplementing but he will probably concur with your choice.
Continue to drink plenty of spring or distilled water for hydration purposes as well, and additional electrolytes, just as an athlete would, after all, you ARE running quite a race right now. good luck and good health.

Keep up the bananas and make sure she is well hydrated. If her leg feels warm or seems swollen, have her get checked for blood clots. It is somewhat commen in prenant women or postpartum women. Good luck!

I had the same problem when I was pregnant. My doctor told me to take calcium, specifically viactive. It took a few days but the leg cramps went away.

Leg cramps aren't unusual at all, and unfortunately, they often get worse the farther along one gets. There are ways to help alleviate them: She needs to make sure that she stretches frequently, and make sure that she stretches with her heel down and her toes pointing up as though she is stretching to try to make her toes touch her shin. Stretching with her toes pointed down doesn't stretch the muscles that are cramping properly, instead it bunches them up making things worse, and if she tries to point her toes down into a stretch WHILE she is cramping, it may be excruciating. That was a mistake I made when they first started happening to me and I thought I would pass out.

Also, there is no reason why she can't place a heating pad under her calf. It will help loosen the muscle. Also, if you might help her by massaging her calf incredibly gently, that will also help, as will drinking lots of fluids.

Best of luck to you and congratulations!

Congrats on the first baby! I had the same problem thru out both of my pregnancies. My OB said it could be a lack of both potassium (bananas) and magnesium (spinach) but that lots of prego women suffer this prob and supplements don't necessarily help. The biggest thing that helped me was we took a massage class that taught my hubby how to massage me thru the pregnancy and also how to massage the baby. I make really big babies and it helped to put me to sleep, relieved my cramps, and when I did have probs in the middle of the night especially, my hubby knew how to fix it. As a bonus it has helped our personal time even after having the babies :)

Make sure when she does stretch she pulls her toes up to her head to extend the muscle. (Flexes her foot rather than points it) This made mine go away if I did it as soon as I felt it coming on.

have her try about 1 ounce of vinegar before bedtime every night and her cramps will be no more. My son did this for cramps during football as well as i when i was pregnant with him 20 years ago, and its safe for baby. D. Speelman

I don't know if this will work but worth a try. To get rid of monthly cramps I drink a lot of milk. I know that it works for that and just maybe it will help with the leg cramps too. I know what she is talking about those legs cramps to hurt for days afterwards. I hope this helps her.

I had that as well when I was pregnant with my little boy (soon to be 2). My doctor me to stop drinking milk and start taking calcium pills 2-3 times a day. He said it was something in the way they process the milk. Anyway, that worked for me!

When I was pregnant, I would get those charlie horse cramps in my legs at night as well. I learned that they came most often when I had soda pop during the day. If I drank a gatorade or powerade for the elecrolytes then I wouldn't have them. You could try that and see if it helps. Good Luck!

could be a pinched nerve being her hip needs aligned have her lay on the bed and see if her feet match up and the one that is out of line pull it. Hope this works it does for me.Otherwise check out chrirpractic.

I had those too, I found that when i felt one coming on if I repeatedly flexed and pointed my foot it made it go away. this is good practice for you-if you can lose a little sleep now and still be good-natured you will be that much more prepared for a newborn. Congrats!

I totally had charlie horses when I was preggo...especially when I was trying to sleep. It sucks, but it's just another joy of pregnancy! :)

Ditto to what everyone has said about flexing your toes upwards, worked everytime for me to stop that cramp. Also, eat bananas, potassium!

Leg cramps are unfortunately worse for some folks than others. They also can be worse in one pregnancy over another.

As you have doubtless read, keep-up with the bananas. It is also important to make sure your wife drinks a good amount of water each day. Start with a bottle of water, and it can be refilled several times. You will be able to track the water intake a little easier.

When the cramps in the calf do happen (these are the ones I had), Alycia, don't try to sit-up. You need to roll out of bed (carefully) and go right into a calf stretch. Hold it for as long as needed. I found that this made them disappear almost instantly with no after-effects for the day. I also made sure to stretch more that day. This was the absolute best solution for me! By doing the stretch immediately, it was amazing how it eliminated almost every bit of soreness!

Another thing that can help prevent them is to walk for five minutes to warm your leg muscles (you can walk in place) and then do stretches. This would be most effective if done daily. Just make sure to talk to your OBGYN about safe stretches during pregnancy. Calf stretches should not be a problem.

I hope this helps, and way to go hubby for taking an active role!

I'm nearly three times your age and this symptom is more prevelant at our age. A Dr. has said that quinine helps to relieve this. Instead of prescription quinine he reccommended drinking Tonic water (it has a bitterish taste but not untolerable)because it is readily available at most grocery stores in the soft drink aisle. Another aid, (homeopathic - so the strength in them is not quite as much) is a tablet called Hyland's Leg Cramps with Quinine. We are able to buy them locally but I have seen them in some catalogs which we receive as well. Three - to 5 pills work for me. On the quinine water I usually drink about 4 - 6 oz in the early evening. Hope this helps.

1/4 tsp Real (sea) Salt to a shot of juice. I experienced the same things during my pregnancy, asked my dr about it and he said he doesnt know why this works but it does. Do it once a day and she'll never have another one! I did it like a shot because then you dont taste the salt but chase it with water. Good luck!

Drink ALOT of water. Also do some leg stretches before you go to bed. Get on all fours, extend one leg behind you and put your toes on the floor then press the heel of your foot back, then switch. That is one best one.

Is she taking multi vitamins? If so what brand? Maybe she needs a more bio available brand or to take extra calcium/magnesium or possibly to be more on top of taking the ones she is already taking if she tends to forget. She could talk to her Dr. or midwife about this. Often leg cramps can be from a magnesium deficinecy.
Hope this helps.
In good health,
T. Sobel, Dipl.O.M., L.Ac.
Acupuncture, Nutrition, Herbs & Massage

She might need more salt. My great-grandfather would always eat salt directly when he had charlie horses. I didn't really believe it would help until recently (I just birthed my son about 2 months ago) when I was pregnant and would get leg cramps. I take salt tablets everyday anyway because my electrolytes are low and the cardiologist told me that even if I salted all my food I still wouldn't get enough salt for my body. Anyway, there are two ways to take salt - use 1/4 tsp of sea salt (I use the brand REAL SALT) in a quart of water and drink it (it really doesn't taste salty, just kind of like saline, and they put sodium in bottled water to make it taste better anyway). OR I take one salt tablet (Thermotab) - which you usually have to ask the pharmacist even though you do NOT need a prescription for it. It's about $7 for a bottle of 100 tablets - but then again if she takes a tablet she needs to make sure she drinks a quart of water (not all at once, but throughout the day).
My prenatal yoga instructor also told me when I got cramps in class that I needed more calcium - so try more milk. And taking a warm bath is always helpful for the sore legs.
Hope that helps!

i read the other post and they are right leg cramps are common in pregnancy one thing to be more cautious of is deep vein thrombosis(DVT) if the pain in localized in one specific area, or the leg feels heavy,if there is swelling(slight or severe)and pain on flexing the foot toward the chin,or any other weird leg symptoms, fever, or speeded up heart beat your wife should probably check in with her doc just to see what the doc thinks. DVT is a blood clot in the leg and if it goes unchecked it could turn into a dangerous situation as it could move. so i am not trying to freak you out but since none of us on here actually have seen or know your wife i hate for you not to know about something that maybe worth checking into. congrats on your baby and i am sure you will be a great daddy, you seem to be taking great care of your wife!!

looks like a lot of people have said magnesium and calcium, but my understanding is what one other person said. . . salt deficiency OR the big one that has always helped me is potassium, so if she likes bananas. But there's also a lot of pressure and extra or lowered blood flow, so any number of things could be causing the problem. if it's like a sudden cramp in the middle of the night and then it's tight for a couple of days, i'd try either potassium supplements or more bananas. I also often get these when I'm super stressed out, more often than in other times in life. . . good luck!

First line of defense for leg cramps is always increased calcium. Calcet brand really worked for me, and it's cheap. If that doesn't do the trick she could consult with a homeopath for a drug-free solution. Good luck!

Try to get her in a prenatal yoga class where a teacher can work with her on this. I know if you sit on your heels with your toes curled under, knees straight out front on the floor, this helps. Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa has an excellent prenatal yoga dvd where she teaches this pose (easier to watch than try to figure out from words) and many others that will keep your wife feeling great during her pregnancy! Good luck!

Hey J.,

The cramps are being caused because of the decreased blood supply to her legs as the baby is lying on and pushing pressure on her major vessels. Have her try sleeping on her sides and off her back. It releives the pressure and increases the blood supply to her legs. Good luck and just think it will be over soon after the baby arrives. Congratulations!


Lot's of water and extra calcium, muscle cramps can be caused when the body gets a little dehydrated. Calcium also helps relieve muscle cramps. I had these charlie-horses in my calves at night with all 3 of my pregnancys, and drinking more water and taking extra calcium helped me quite a bit.

Hi J.,
I know you've had a ton of responses so I haven't read them all but I do want to testify that the bar of soap in your bed or under the bottom sheet worked miracles for me! I was having cramping legs every night and they would last for several minutes at a time until I was almost in tears and my legs felt like I had been beaten with a hammer everyday. My mom told me about the soap and I wouldn't be without a bar of saop - even when I travel.

R. of Shelley, ID

Hi there,

I too experienced awful leg cramps during my pregnancy, they would wake me up in the middle of the night like charlie horses. I was advised to take liquid calcium, I think a Tbl. spoon full or two a day & it resolved the problem immediately. I believe it was bought at the Co-Op but I could be wrong (my midwife picked it up for me, she is Paula with the Treasure Valley Midwives & would be happy to tell you I'm sure). Anyway, hopefully that will help. Best of luck!


Sometimes it can also be calcium related and sometimes a dehydration issue(esp if she has been sick). Muscle aches or charley horses can be common in pregnancy but if persistent and usually consistent pain and warmness and swelling can be other problems. She should have her doctor evaluate it. Good luck and hope this helps.

I have had problems with leg cramps (not pregnant though) and found that my body was low in calcium and vitamin D. I talked to my Dr. who explained if your body is low in vit. D then you don't absorb calcium and that is what can cause cramping in muscles. I would try first increasing calcium intake.

What people have been saying about the calcium and potassium is good. The massage advise is great. However, I have not heard anyone talk about exercise. (Maybe I did not read enough responses). Lots of fluid (water preferably) and exercise is the best thing for circulation and keeping your body in pregnancy shape. I exercised nearly every day in my first pregnancy and now, just over 6 months pregnant with my second, I do cardio and weights 4X a week and rock climb once a week. Fitting exercising into my schedule is not easy. I am tired because I wake up early so that I can work out before my husband goes to work. However, I feel SOOOO much better when I am exercising that the benefits far exceed the downfall of being tired. Oh, I forgot to mention, I never get muscle cramps and feel great. Also, I am going to be 40 in June.

I understand that working out 4x a week may be tough, but at least try to fit in 3x if she is not already. If she isn't exerciseing at all, obviuosly, start out slowly with brisk walking or the like.

J., what a great husband you are. Have her eat a banana every day. She needs the potassium. When she gets one have her flex and when it is gone rub the area. Then go eat a banana. I still get these once in a while and it has been 5 years since my last baby. Mine showed up in the calf and in my toes. Now it is just my toes. But I get up some times crawl to the kitchen and eat about 1/2 of a banana.

God bless you and your family.


HEY! I am a 1st time mom and I experienced what you wife is experiencing. They are leg cramps and she doesnt need drugs. Tell her not to point her toes when she stretches. If she does, tell her to point her toes back towards her and massage her calf muscle. She can take a magnesium calcium supplement. Leg cramps are caused by a calcium deficency. hope that helps!


With my first pregnancy I didn't ever have leg cramps but with my second I had them quite oftern. They were pretty painful and would often wake me at night. I tried to up my potassium intake and it didn't work. My doctor had me take extra magnesium and it made all the difference. It took only a day and I could tell a major difference. If I ever forgot to take it the cramps would come back. I took 1000mg a day. Hope this helps!

I have been through this more than once! Come to find out I had a blood clot in my leg. It's nothing to worry about as long as you get it treated. My doctor did an ultrasound on my leg to be sure thats what it was and it was so I was put on blood thinners, which are okay to be on while your pregnant becasue the doctor will prescribe one that doesn't cross the placenta. The danger with bloodclots is if they go untreated they can move to your lungs or heart and cause serious complications. My advice having been through this is to call your doctor let hime know you think you may have a blood clot in your calf (thats where mine hurt...and the pain felt similar to a pulled muscle, but it was more of a deeper constant throbbing that would come and go) and tell him you'd like an untrasound done on your leg.

I found when i was pregnant bananas helped ease my leg cramps.

Sounds just like me! With both pregnancies I had awful leg cramps too. They always hit in the night and they were too painful to stretch out or walk off. My OB told me it was a sign that my body was low on calcium. He told me to take calcium pills--and a lot of them--in addition to the prenatal vitamin. Foods like milk didn't have enough calcium. I'd take two calcium pills a day for a while. That worked through the 2nd trimester. Then when the leg cramps came back I took four a day. And that took care of me for the rest of my pregnancy. He said I just needed a lot more calcium than some people do. I'd check with your OB but I'd bet it's calcium. Good luck. They are no fun.

Hi J.,

my name is J. fowlke. I am a nutritional consultant with life force international. Your wifes cramping comes from a lack of nutrition. All the good stuff is going to the baby and depleting her. You are welcome to try a bottle of one of our products "body balance". The company offers a free bottle, other than the $7.95 shipping cost. Go to lifeforcefamily.com and put this number in .. ###-###-####. We also have an excellent calcium product "ostiomega". It is pure and organic. That would help her also.

Good luck and be a good hubby and rub her legs.

Hi J.
I am not pregnant but from time to time I to suffer from terrible leg cramps. My Dr. told me to make sure that I was drinking plenty of water to hydrate the muscles. Maybe your wife could try it.

stretch, stretch stretch... especially before bed! Leg cramps are totally common during pregnancy (and annoying, and painful!) it has something to do with an excess of a certain mineral or not enough of it (I forget, sorry). Stretchs are the best thing your wife can do to help solve the problem. Mine were all in the same leg too. Look up some calf stretches online and complete them before bed, if not several times a day. Also, if you know a massage therapist who does maternity massage, treat her and the therapist can focus on her crampy leg.

Hi J.;

I am 6 months pregnant myself, and I wake up in the middle of the night with leg cramps. Its a weird and uncomfortalbe feeling. I learned this would happen to me because there is a place online that tells you what your body and baby will go through each week. I hope this helps. The website is WWW.BABYCENTER.COM. Its very helpful. It also tells you things your doctor doesnt discuss druing the pregnancy.

Even though I feel like a big watermelon, and all the other side effects to it. Like not being able to bend down, or get out of the bath tub. Or the aching leg cramps. :) I love being pregnant.

Good Luck

Leg cramps are a very normal discomfort in the later months of pregancy. There is so much more blood volume and pressure in the lower extremities at this time. I am a local midwife and recommend to my moms to take extra calcium and magnesium. Calcium helps to contract muscle and magnesium helps to relax them.. there is a great product specifically for his called "MAMA CALM". The only place I have found it is at the Nutrition West health food store in Meridian, Id.
You could probably google it also. Also Shonda Parker a Master herbalist who specializes in Pregant women and kids has a great website and sells tinctures for all the discomforts of Pregancy. She also is the author of a great book "The Natural Healthy Pregnancy" Good luck to you for your upcoming birth. God bless, J.

Leg craps can be common during pregnancy. I have heard that not having enough calcium can be a reason too. She may want to take an additonal supplement and she may want to eat more calcium rich foods. The bananas are a good thing too.
Also, dehydration can be an issue. Make sure she's really drinking enough water.
If she drinks soda or coffee, she may want to cut back on those.
Good luck!

I have had the same thing. I am sure it is different for everyone but my problem was not getting enough water and not stretching enough. You might try looking at those two things. Fish oil also helps, I take 3 grams a day. Stephanie

My husband's family has a history of leg cramps. Vitamin E and Calcium really help. Hope it works for her.

Dear J.:
I hope you don't think I'm from the funny
farm, but I have had the expierence that
your wife has with leg cramps. Some nights
they were so bad that even getting up and
walking didn't help. A friend of mine here
in Ephraim solved my problem. Put a bar
of hand soap on the bottom of your bed
under the cover sheet and the bottom
fitted sheet. I have only had two expierences where
the cramps came back and only very minor ones.
It doesn't matter what kind of hand soap you use.
Good Luck!
L. Nunley


Have her put a heating pad on the sore leg on low heat, and also elevate her legs. it will help the blood circulate to her legs better which will help with the cramping.

I too am pregnant, and get these same cramps. At night is when they hit, and if you stretch the wrong way during one, it can cause you swelling.
I have had it happen two times, where I stretched during one, and couldn't walk the next day, and it took a few days to start walking normal again.
Tell her to eat bananas, as I hear it is lack of potassium.
This will go away with the pregnancy.
Hope this helps! Good luck with your baby! It is an unforgettable experience.

I had bad leg cramps too! I would be sore for days. My doctor told me to put a bar of Ivory Soap under my fitted sheet at night by my legs. I asked why that would help and she said she didn't know why, but it works. It did! As long as that soap was by my legs I didn't get cramps. But if it moved away from my legs, I did. Crazy, but it works.

I get the same leg cramps you describe. I wasn't pregnant, but I had a back injury and it caused it. Due to the weight gain there is lots of stress on her back and that is affecing her legs. Here is what helps me (I still get them occasionally). Take hot shower and get the shower massager on high right on your legs. Rub her legs with lotion on the back to help strecth the muscles. Also have her stretch her calves. This problem may persist even after pregnancy. It happens to me when I don't exercise enough. Our body tells us what it needs...listen to it. Best of luck to you and your wife with the blessed upcoming event (One of my daughter's was born in June)...M.

I had these with both my pregnancies and the doc told me I was low on iron... you may ask the doc about it and see if he/she would okay taking some extra iron! Good luck and congrats!

I'm a proud mother of two beautiful kids, but with both pregnancies I had horrible leg cramps in my calves that would reduce me to tears in the middle of the night. These are normal with pregnancy. So when your wife gets these have her get up and stand on her cramped leg putting all of her weight on the heel of her foot, it works fast. I was told this by my friend during my second pregnancy and didn't think it would work, but it did every single time.(wish I would of known my first time around!) Good luck!

Sounds like she needs more potassium and maybe even water. Eat a bananna before bed and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, stretching daily can help control this natural reaction to pregnancy. In fact that is how I knew I was pregnant both times before I even took a test, I had a leg cramp and knew!!!

J. and Alycia,
Congrats to the both of you! The leg cramps are muscle spasms, (charlie horse) and are so totally normal. It might help for you, J., to massage her legs before she goes to bed at night to help her relax. After 7 pregnancies myself, it took the last 2 before I realized that helped me.Also, avoid stretching your legs at night, that seemed to always send mine into spasms. Keep them warm and drink TONS of water. I know, Alycia, that you already live in the bathroom, but remember that your muscles are being stressed to the max here and extra, extra water can't hurt! My OB also let me take some Tylenol right before bed to help me relax and help with the pain.
J., you are an awesome guy to be this involved with her pregnancy. Good luck!

Hi J.,
congratulations! I had the exact same problem last year during my first pregnancy -- the cramping and restless legs kept me up many nights and would often wake me up if I was already asleep. I'm also a nutritionist, so I agree with all the other responses to increase her calcium intake, but more importantly increase the magnesium. I solved my problem with a cal/mag supplement (1:1 ratio, equal milligram amounts of both minerals) at night before I went to bed -- these minerals are also great for getting peaceful, calm sleep as well.

The only thing I can think of besides bananas is to make sure she doesn't point her toes.....that can cause the cramp to come about. When she does get a cramp, have her flatten her foot instead - toes point upward as much as possible (pretty much the opposite of pointing toes). That helped me get through some painful cramps.

I had the same problem with that! I would wake up screaming with charley horses and my poor husband would help me by massageing it. Also if you will grab her foot and push it as close to her shin as possible it'll help strech it out (painful but good in the long run). ****easiest solution: chew a couple Mylanta Ultimate Strength just before bed*** there is something in those that helps prevent the cramps. When I started doing this I didn't get cramps anymore at all!!!


Get her on extra calcium, not calcium carbonate. I experienced the same cramping with my last two pregnancies. This past one I used Osteoprocare calcium liquid supplement from Life Force International at night before bed, and I never got a cramp again! God bless the growth of your family with His patience, endurance, and wisdom in all things.

I, too, had calf cramping during both of my pregnancies. My midwife introduced me to sea salt and it really helped. I just used sea salt on food rather than the regular iodized salt. The sea salt has some trace elements in it that help. When I had severe cramping, I would just eat a pinch of salt and they would ease. I hope this helps!

Try extra calcium. Sometimes this is an indication that calcium is needed. Milk, TUMS, etc. Your wife should also mention this to her physician as there may be a potential for DVT, however, try the calcium first.
Good luck.

I noticed onset of leg cramps around age 21...and bananas don't seem to help me either. What I've noticed is they happen more often when I'm dehydrated (common in pregnant women). I've decided I have mild restless leg syndrome, where I have the urge to flex my foot to get rid of the sensation of cramps. It happens less when I'm on a good workout roll too. See if she has relief with more water and more exercise, like walks. And certainly bananas can't hurt.

I had the same cramps that made me sore for days after. It's very common during pregnancy. My best advice would be that if she is aware when it starts to cramp, to immediately do the opposite of what she was doing with that leg when it starts to happen. For example, when my leg would cramp most is when I had been sitting or lying in bed for a while, and I point my toes to stretch out my muscles. When I would do it, I would feel the calf begin to cramp. Immediately I would flex my foot, and the cramp would go away without leaving it sore. If she doesn't prevent it right away, then immediately rubbing it after it happens tends to make it feel better a little quicker, but she'll probably still be sore. That, along with her vitamins, and bananas or other source of extra potassium are the best remedy. Sometimes, it just can't be helped. But it most likely will go away after delivery. Congrats on your first baby!

I had the same problem when I was pregnant with both my kids. My Doctor told me to start drinking more water. It really worked!

I have been on a program that has helped my out a lot. Nutrition shakes that really help with joint and muscle discomfort. Let me know if you are interested and I can point you in the right direction.
And you are just gonna love fatherhood!

i would go to a chiropractor. i have had 2 children and i was under chiropractic care for both. i started having leg cramps with my first so i started seeing a chiropractor i stopped having the leg cramps and he also helped with the low back pain. with my second child i had no cramping or back pain. he was a miracle worker. If you go try to find a gonstead chiropractor (all chiropractors are not the same) Gonstead chiropractor's are the best.

Its very common I had them with my first pregnancy. She is low in Calcium. She can take calcium fortified tums (antacid). They are safe during pregnancy help with hearburn (I had a lot) and have the calcium she needs to help the leg cramps go away.

I had my first in July 2006 & the same thing happened to me all the time. At first, I actually woke up & started crying because they hurt so bad. Unfortunately, there's not too much you can do other than drink a lot of water all the time, & DON'T FLEX YOUR FEET or stretch your legs too hard. Most of the time, that will just make the charly's worse. Hope that helps. Congratulations!! Being parents is the best thing ever!

Congratulations! I had these with my first son. Potassium and calcium helped me a lot. Translated, lots of milk and bananas followed by lots of water to keep things moving. Also, when the cramp first started to hit, my husband would stretch the leg against the cramp which kept it from being able to completely cramp. Also helped with the pain the next day. If it's any encouragement, as bad as it was on my first pregnancy, I'm now on my 3rd and have never had that problem repeat. Cramps can be a sign of dehydration, too, so the milk and water would help if that's the cause. GL Sounds like you're going to be a great father!

I had those exact same leg cramps during all 5 of my pregnancies. Mine too would usually wake me up in the middle of the night. The soreness afterwards would last days sometimes up to a week. What I finally discovered helped was that when the cramp would start I would immediately stretch my calf muscle. (Pulling my toes up toward my knee and holding it in that position until the calf muscles relaxed) The cramp would only last a few seconds rather than up a couple of minutes minimizing the soreness afterwards significantly to only a little tenderness. Have her try it, it worked like a charm for me! Good luck! :0)

When I was pregnant last year (due in June with our first also!) I had this problem. My dr told me to start taking the viactiv chews (the calcium ones not the multi-vid one) and it made mine go away....maybe it would help her. Good luck!

I found that stretching out really well a couple of times a day really helped me a lot! And as someone else here said, don't point the toes! That makes it way worse. Good luck! This too shall pass.

hi J.
Congratulations! the first child(and second and third and so on) is a very special occasion you will never forget. so, your wife is having leg cramps huh. Well i'm suprised your doctor didn't tell you but this is usual. It happens to most pregnant women. because of all the pressure from the baby, circulation is not what it should be in our legs. i'm guessing it's her left calf? happened to me too. my suggestion is to get some snug support hose (aka TED hose) i never got them (no time)but a lot of my friends swear by them . let me know how things go

Please have your wife read this article. Most leg cramps are caused by imbalanced nutrition. I hope this helps!

I had bad leg and foot cramps during my pregnancies. My doctor told me i needed calcium as well. And Tums antacid was his suggestion. It also helped me with my bad heartburn.

These are great suggestions so far! One other thing to consider is how much time she is spending on her feet during the day. When I was pregnant I was a full time retail manager it was the dead of Christmas! I was due Dec 26th!! The more you are on your feet the worse the swelling is, and the worse the cramps will be. As well, the shins themselves will be sore do to shin splints. Be sure she is spending time off her feet with her legs rested elevated above her hips each day 10 minutes for every 2 hours of the day. When she gets to that 8th and 9th month make it more if needed. I had to make it 10 minutes each hour. Doing this will allow extra fluid and toxins to drain from the legs and muscles more easily.

Hey J.,
I am reading all of these responses and chuckling a little. That is a lot to digest in one sitting. Has your wife called her doctor? That is what I would do first, so they can put it in her chart. My midwife told me that leg cramps were due to calcium intake. She told me to just eat yogurt or cottage cheese at night before going to bed. Whatever helps!!!!

Is that leg bigger than the other or discolored? With my first pregnancy I had a blood clot in one of my legs. It was much more serious than I thought. If there is no swelling or discolor then I could be wrong, but if there is I would go to the doctor as soon as possible, cause the DVT (deep vein thrombosis) I had is called the "silent killer". Not, to scare you or anything, just a warning that it may be more serious than you think.

strech before going to bed, like a runners strech. Also Calcium will help.

I used to have leg cramps when I was pregnant. (I've had nine children.) When I finally went to a lay midwife for my 7th, she said to increase my calcium... a lot. I did and never had another cramp with the last 3 kids.

I am 7 months pregnant and also suffer from cramps. I have an electric massager that I use on my legs and feet to help relieve the pain. Also a friend told me to try a heating rub cream like rub A535 (I think that is what it's called) or a heating pad. Good luck and congratulations!

Hi There,

I also had this problem... Have her apply a warm/wet compress with epson salts on her legs. This seemed to take the edge off so I could fall asleep. (Just soak a couple hand towels in a warm epson salt bath)

Hope this helps.

Try drinking Gaterade. There is a new lo-cal choice available too. You can also get it in a powder for a smaller portion or travel. Good luck.

I know exactly what you're talking about. When it happends get up and stretch her leg in the air towards her, it helps stop the cramp

Leg cramps are NO FUN! I have been told my my doctor's that while you're pregnant, the cause of such sounding leg cramps is not enough milk. So, try adding more during the day and see if that works. Good luck!

Hi there...

She needs calcium, but call her doctor for more advice. My legs were sore from cramps too!

I have a history of leg cramps, as did my father, and I've been an athlete most of my life as well, so hopefully I can help. She's doing one right thing by eating bananas. Orange juice is also a good source of Potassium and has other positives for this that bananas don't have. I usually utilize both. Also, increased water intake (if urine is dark, it means you're dehydrated)will help. Make that urine as light as possible! I know, a pregnant woman will say, "I'm already peeing every 20 minutes", or something to that effect, but it's necessary to flush the lactic acid out of the muscles.

Additionally, you/she might try deliberately taking in some additional salt, I highly recommend "Lite Salt", which is high in potassium and limits the amount of sodium better. She should be careful about how much she takes, however, as too much salt is not good--consider consulting your Obstetrician about the possible effects on the fetus/pregnancy. I typically take about 1/4 teaspoon and don't have to do that again for several months. (The only reason I do is that I eat a very low-salt diet, and have for years and often forget that my activities often make my body need more salt.)

I find that these procedures typically give me some results within 15 minutes, which is a great relief, since cramps like this are very painful.

What also helps me is to put a heating pad under the offending area at night, on a low, or medium-low setting.

Finally, stretching those calf muscles once some relief is found will help it last longer, and doing stretches every day will help alleviate the problem all together, but be careful not to overdo.

Good luck to you. Here's to a healthy baby and mom!

I just gave birth to my 6th child, and had really bad leg cramps. I can't remember where I heard it, but discovered that Folic Acid helps with that. I tried it, and sure enough, the cramps stopped! Thank goodness!

I had the same problem when I was pregnant with my son. I found if I would spend a couple of minutes every night and flex and point my toes, both feet, I wouldn't have the leg cramps. I've also heard that leg cramps are because a lack of calcuim. That didn't help me, but maybe something worth trying. Good luck.

Here are some tips for leg cramps from my childbirth edu. class:

1) Avoid pointing toes; flex them instead
2) Do calf stretches several times each day, especially before prolonged walking
3) Increase calcium-rich foods (dark green veggies have these as well); supplements may be required
4) Get a good massage EVERY DAY from daddy-to-be!
5) Walk for exercise, beginning moderately and increasing slowly
6)When you feel a cramp coming on, re-bend leg and flex foot before straightening.
Also, have her elevate her feet during the day for a short period of time.
7) She also needs to be drinking LOTS of fluids (about 3 large Nalgene bottles full of WATER or a pregnancy tea, Recharge (healty juice section) is a good source of electrolytes and much better for you than Gatorade)--POP does not count; in fact the carbonation WITHDRAWS calcium from your system) Since a mother's blood volume increases about 40% during the pregnancy, fluids are EXTREMELY important to prevent all kinds of things, including blood clotting, bladder infections, etc. Hope this helps. Congrats new parents-to-be!

Does she drink caffinated drinks? When I was pregnant with my first son I had to give up caffine completley because I was having sever cramps in my right arm. They were so bad I had a hard time sleeping at night (like your wife is having). Someting to do with the combination of the natural swelling you experience being pregnant and the swelling that caffine causes it gave me terrible pain. If she does drink caffine have her give it up and see if that helps. The first night after I cut it out of my diet I felt immediate relief. Hopefully she will be able to find some relief!

It could possibly be blood clots. She should definatley bring it up at her next docotors appointment. She may have to be on her feet less, which means laying down more and doing less around the house. I would definaltely ask a doctor though.

This is a very common condition in pregnancy. My doctor told me that it wasn't potasium (bananas)that I was lacking and giving me the leg cramps. He told me and I have read, that it is a calcium deficiency. I do not like milk, so this was hard for me. So I began taking a calcium supplement along with my prenatal vitamins and eating more dairy products. This didn't take the cramps away completely, but it did help the severity of them and also the frequency I was getting them. Also, make sure that when she is getting a cramp that she gets up and walks it out. Congratulations and best luck with your first child!

The leg cramps are most likely "charley Horses" caused from lack of potassium. I had that too with all three pregnancys. Have her try eating a banana when this happens.
It does help.

Dear J. and Alycia,
I would first look at her diet. Lots of veggies, especially leafy greens are good as well as broccoli.
I drank RedRaspberry leaf tea daily all through my pregnancies- it is an excellent toner for the uterus, but helps with all the muscles and increases her calcium levels too. Have her take really good prenatal vitamins. I would go to the healthfood store and take the vitamins as directed, they are usually 6/day, 2 per each meal. This will also help so much! While it seems like a lot to take they are a real food vitamin and so it's food rather than derived vitamins that are normally prescribed.

Best of Wishes,
H. B. MOM (mother of many-9)

YOur wife probably needs calcium. Most mothers to be think all they need is in their prenatal vitamins, but there is not enough calcium in them. She should be getting 1500 mg a day. She should not be drinking sodas of any kind, because this will take calcium out of the body. She should also be drinking a gallon of water a day. green leafy vegetables are a great source of calcium. Her leg cramps should be gone within a couple of weeks if not sooner.

I was having something similar. My calves would cramp up at night from about the 7th month on and for days after these episodes my legs would hurt. So I started drinking more water (which stunk because the bladder is already not able to hold much more water) and I started stretching my calves out a couple times a day. It helped bring a little relief and although they did not totally stop, they did become less frequent. I don't know if any of this helps, but maybe try having her do a couple of stretches.

We have always drank tonic water helps alot

Leg cramps can be due to a lack of calcium and magnesium. Make sure her prenatal vitamins contain those it might help

This might sound like a crazy idea, but try putting a bar of soap at the foot of your bed inside the sheets. I know it works for restless leg syndrome, which I had when I was pregnant and still get. When I first heard of this I laughed. It helped my mom with her leg cramps too.

Good luck!

P. M.

J., she could be low on Potassium so have her start eating foods that are high in it.

Also, there is this weird thing I read about. People swear by it, but i don't have problems so I have never tried it.

Put a bar of soap, any kind and any size, between the mattress and the mattress cover at the foot of the bed. It supposedly stops the cramps and the restless leg syndrome too. Let us know if it works.

Good luck. Marciab

I too had leg cramps when I was pregnant not to long ago. I would wake up screaming on the middle of the night. My doctor said I needed to drink more water (I helped me to drink water the minute it was coming so it would not last as long) and whenever possible put my feet up. I hope that helps you wife.

I had muscle cramps with all my kids. The best solution was to walk it out and keep walking until they are gone. I never really found out a cure but it made me feel better.
C. B

Charlie horses are par for the course when you are preggo. The bananas are a good idea, keep it up.I also took a hot shower or soak in the evenings and that helped a little too. Unfortunately they think you get the charlie horses because of the rapid weight gain so they tend to get worse as you go. Mine stopped as soon as I had my babies. If she is sure they are not charlie horses she needs to tell her doc immediately because sometimes women build up blood clots in their calves and it can be dangerous.

This is very common in pregnancy. I would get up and do a runner's lunge-type leg stretch. It hurts but it helps immediately once that initial excrutiating pain is over.
The stretch should push the top of the foot towards the front of the calf.

I have read that the natural relaxation of the legs when sleeping allows the foot to move to the "point" position, with the toes pointed rather than making an "L" like when you're standing. This allows the muscles to cramp. If you can keep the ankle bent more instead of straight, the calf muscles aren't as likely to cramp. The suggestion I read was to put something below the feet in the bed to keep the ankle bent somewhat. Or, to have the sheets tight enough that the ankle can't straighten out.

Try gatorade. Gatorade will also help restore an electrolyte imbalance (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium).

Leg cramps are a normal symptom of pregnancy. I think all she can do is try to strech the muscle. Try looking them up in a pregnancy book or on a website.

Have her drink a TON of water. Seriously she needs to drink so much that she feels like she's going to float away. That's the only thing that helped with my leg cramps during pregnancy. Leg cramps sometimes can be a sign of a potassium deficiency (bananas would help with that) but usually it's a sign of dehydration. It's hard to keep up with the extra fluid intake that's needed during pregnancy so that's probably the culprit in her case. Good luck!

The same thing happened to me in both pregnancies. I found out it was a calcium deficiency, not a potassium problem (that eating bananas would help). So my doctor told me to double up on my calscium pills when it happened and that always worked! Try it!

Totally normal. Read "What to Expect When You're Expecting". Uncomfortable? Absolutely. I had this problem too. Be a sweet husband and massage her legs and feet before bed. Make sure she is taking her vitamins. And drinking plenty of water. Not soda. Cramping is usually due to lactic acid build up. So drink, drink, drink.
My friend swore that if she drank milk or ate yogurt before bed she didn't have cramped legs that night. This too shall pass. What a great husband to be concerned and get on a message board to get some info.

I had these pregnancy "Charlie horses" all the time! When they would happen, I would make my husband grab the bottom of my foot and pull my toes up towards my shin (to stretch the calf muscle) -- that usually helped to alleviate some of the pain! I know they're such a pain, but hopefully that will help! Good luck!

Unfortunately, bananas don't always give us the necessary potassium to combat cramping. She may want to consider changing her vitamins to ensure that they are botanically based; therefore, they dissolve fully in the system and do not leave before getting utilized.

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