Now that I'm in my third trimester, I keep getting these painful cramps in
my calves. Sometimes they even wake me up at night. What can I do to make them stop? – Emelia
You're not alone — many pregnant women get these lower leg cramps, often
in the middle of the night in the second and third trimesters.
Experts aren't sure what causes "charley horses" (the nonclinical name for painful
cramps in your calf muscles). Although they can be extremely painful, charley horses
are — luckily! — usually brief.
What might help:
Do calf stretches before bed to prevent the cramping. But make sure not to point
your toes while stretching.
Straighten your leg and flex your foot when you get a cramp. A gentle massage
of the calf may help relax the muscle.
Make sure you are drinking enough fluids during the day.
If cleared by your doctor, get regular exercise, which can help reduce cramps.
Some have thought that leg cramps were caused by low levels of nutrients like
calcium in the blood, but there's no good evidence that taking supplements is
helpful in treating or preventing leg cramps.
If the leg pain doesn't ease; is severe; or is accompanied by swelling, warmth,
or redness in the leg or difficulty walking, talk with your health care provider right