Legs cramps are common in the second and third trimester. It usually happens at midnight. You may feel uncomfortable as it typically affects your calf, foot, or both. It is quite troublesome to get a sharp pain or tightness in your calf when you are ready to sleep. Here are some factors which may cause leg cramps and remedies to relieve.

Causes of leg cramps

Pregnancy leg cramps can be caused by multiple reasons. Here are a few theories to the causes of leg cramps during pregnancy:

  • Gain more weight and let your leg muscles carry extra pressure.
  • The compression changes of blood vessels in leg.
  • Lack of calcium or magnesium.
  • Pregnancy hormones changes.

How can you relieve the pain?

  • Making sure you have your calf stretches before going to bed might help to prevent cramping at night.
  • Take calcium and magnesium supplements after a discussion with your doctor.
  • Take a moderate exercise such as walking or swimming for at least 30 minutes a day to help blood flow in the legs. Specific foot and leg muscle exercises are encouraged. Bend and stretch your foot up and down 30 times, then rotate your foot 8 times one way and 8 times the other way.
  • Avoid standing, sitting in one position for long periods of time. Don’t cross your legs when sitting to keep the flow of blood through your legs.
  • Keep your calf warm. You can try wearing stockings before going to bed if you turn on air-conditioners.
  • Reduce the intake of something cold. It may reduce blood circulation and worsen the cramping.
  • Take a warm bath or hot shower before going to bed to relax your muscles.
  • Drink at least 12 to 13 glasses of fluids a day to prevent dehydration.

Easy way to immediately ease the cramping

  • Stand at a wall around an arm's length, place your hands on the wall in front of you and move your right foot behind your left foot.
  • Slowly bend your left leg forward, keep your right knee straight and right heel on the floor. Stretch it for about 30 seconds. Please note that you should keep your back straight and your hips forward. Don't rotate your feet inward or outward. Switch legs and repeat.

Generally, you don’t need to worry about leg cramps when you are woken up by a sudden pain. It usually disappears within a few minutes. Also, it disappears after giving birth. Talk to your doctor when your sleep is disturbed by leg cramps and the pain is severe and persistent.