Foot and leg pain during pregnancy is something that happens to most moms. As a result, a lot of moms tend to ignore foot or pregnancy leg cramps and simply chalk it up as a normal part of pregnancy.
What can you read in this article?
- Causes and symptoms of pregnancy leg cramps
- Tips to prevent leg cramps and foot pain
However, this doesn’t mean that moms should simply ignore the pain that they’re experiencing. It’s still important to know what to do in case you suffer from foot and leg pain during your pregnancy
Varicose veins are one of the main causes of leg pain during pregnancy. A varicose vein occurs when the tiny valves inside large leg veins stop functioning well.
This can cause blood to pool in the veins, enlarging them, and they start to become visible. The bad news is that for pregnant moms, varicose veins tend to get worse over each pregnancy, that’s why it’s important to deal with it early on.
Wearing compression stockings can help improve the circulation in your veins and prevent varicose veins from occurring. Also, exercises such as walking can really help the blood circulation in the legs, preventing varicose veins.
Smaller varicose veins usually go away after you’ve given birth, but larger varicose veins might require some minor surgery.
During your pregnancy, you’ll probably notice that your feet are growing larger, and you can no longer wear shoes that used to fit you perfectly.
This is due to the fact that the hormones that your body produces during pregnancy also cause the various joints and ligaments in your feet to relax, which makes your feet grow bigger. Your increased weight during pregnancy can also contribute to the stress that your feet experience.
In order to prevent pain and discomfort during your pregnancy, try to buy at least a pair of comfortable shoes that are larger than your current size.
They don’t have to be anything fancy since you’ll only be wearing them during your pregnancy. Wearing slippers at home or any loose-fitting footwear also helps relieve the stress on your feet caused by growth.
As your baby grows, you’ll start to experience more and more leg cramps, especially in the 3rd trimester. This is due to the fact that the uterus is compressing the nerves in your legs, which can cause you to have more frequent leg cramps as a result.
Leg cramps can be very painful, and extremely uncomfortable. Some moms even have trouble sleeping because their leg cramps wake them up in the middle of the night!
A good way of preventing leg cramps would be to do some simple leg stretches in the morning, and right before going to sleep. Try pointing your toes towards the floor if you’re lying down, and then flex your toes towards your head.
These stretches should not only help prevent cramps but can also help provide some relief whenever you have leg cramps.
Flat feet or over-pronation
Flat feet or over-pronation is another type of foot pain that commonly happens during pregnancy. This happens when your increased weight during pregnancy causes your feet to flatten out, and your feet start to roll inward while walking.
Flat feet can make walking very painful since it makes walking difficult, and the added weight during pregnancy causes even more stress on your feet.
Wearing footwear that has arch supports can help moms who have flat feet, and can make walking much more comfortable. There are also insoles that you can place inside your shoes that provide additional support and cushioning.
Cramps during Pregnancy
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Top 6 compression socks that can relieve swelling and leg cramps
Other causes of pregnancy leg cramps and foot pain
During pregnancy, blood circulation slows down; this is completely normal and there is no need to worry. Part of the reason is that hormones are overactive. You may already know that hormones can last for 40 weeks or more.
During the last three months, your body will also experience an increase in blood volume, which will also slow down blood circulation. This can cause swelling and cramps in the legs.
Tips for improving circulation during pregnancy
- Raise your legs as much as possible; if you can, find a time to stand up and relax.
- Try to sleep on the left side.
- At night, put a pillow under or between your legs.
- During the day, get up and walk around every one or two hours, especially if your work requires you to sit at your desk all day.
Calcium or magnesium deficiency
Too little calcium or magnesium in the diet can cause leg cramps. But if you are already taking prenatal vitamins, you may not need to take additional supplements. A review of a 2015 study of 390 pregnant women found that taking magnesium or calcium supplements had little effect on leg cramps.
If you are worried that you are not getting enough of these nutrients, please consult your doctor. In any case, you may occasionally perform laboratory tests, so there is no harm in checking these levels.
It is normal to feel tired during pregnancy since you are growing up with a little person in your belly! This is especially true when you gain weight in the second and third trimesters. Since your muscles can get fatigued from the increased stress, this can cause leg cramps.
Drink as much water as possible, walk more during the day, and do stretching exercises before going to bed to avoid leg cramps due to muscle fatigue.
DVT Blood Clot
Blood clots from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can appear in the legs, thighs, or pelvis. Compared with non-pregnant women, pregnant women are 5 to 10 times more likely to develop DVT.
Although there is no need to panic, you will get one very rare at first. The best way to prevent DVT during pregnancy is to avoid a few hours of inactivity.
If you need to sit for a long time at work, you can set a silent alarm clock on your phone, which will ring every hour to remind you to get up and move; maybe go to the water fridge to increase the amount of water you drink in the day.
Also, be very careful when getting up during long-haul flights. You may need to consult your doctor before flying during pregnancy.
If you experience the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Your legs will be very sore when you stand or move
- Severe swelling
- Warm touch near the affected area
7 tips to prevent pregnancy leg cramps and foot pain
1. Staying hydrated
Drinking plenty of water during pregnancy is important to prevent dehydration, and dehydration can also cause those terrible leg cramps. Try to drink 8 to 12 glasses of water a day during pregnancy.
2. Stretching before sleeping
Stretching your calves before bed at night can help prevent or relieve leg cramps. Follow the steps below:
- Stand facing the wall, one arm’s length apart.
- Put your hand on the wall in front of you.
- The right foot is removed. Always place your heel on the floor and bend your left knee while keeping your right leg straight. Keep your left knee bent and feel the stretch of the right calf muscle.
- Press and hold for up to 30 seconds. If necessary, switch legs.
It’s a good idea to stay active during pregnancy, even if you don’t want to overdo it.
With your doctor’s consent, safe activities during pregnancy, such as prenatal yoga, walking, and swimming, can benefit you and your baby.
Staying active can prevent excessive weight gain and promote blood circulation, yes, it helps prevent leg cramps. However, be sure to stretch and warm-up before and after exercise so your muscles don’t contract after exercise.
4. Eating a balanced diet
Eat a balanced diet with foods rich in calcium and magnesium, such as yogurt, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.
5. Be active throughout pregnancy.
6. Wear comfortable shoes, high heels, and stay at home
7. Massaging the area of pain
When to see a doctor
Leg cramps are a common pregnancy symptom. This doesn’t make them any easier, but hopefully, it can reduce stress a bit.
If you are concerned about your pain or causing too much sleep deprivation, please mention that at your next prenatal checkup.
Please call your doctor to let them know if leg cramps are severe, persistent, or worse. You may need supplements or medications.
If you have severe swelling in one or both legs, walking pain, or enlarged veins, seek medical help immediately. These may already be symptoms of blood clots.
foot.com, parents.com, Healthline
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