28 Weeks: Pregnancy Calf Cramps to Wake the DEAD

mummyIf you are or have been pregnant, odds are you know what I’m talking about. Over 50% of pregnant women suffer (and I mean suffer!!!) from these horrible, jaw clenching seizures in the muscles of the legs, usually in the calves, and (for me anyway) the sneaky little devils like to strike in the middle of the night.

I started getting them every other night around 2a.m.  about two weeks ago. One was so bad it lasted into the next day and had me limping… considering a cane or a crutch as I was going to a convention downtown and needed to walk a ton. Ego prevented me from going to that extreme so I just limped along for the day and sat as much as possible.

I’ve figured out a few things that work to help my cramps and hope they help if you are suffering from them too!

  1. Sometimes if I freeze (much like a deer in the headlights) those nasty leg cramps will pass me right on by. I love when this happens but have to say, it’s the exception… not the rule.
  2. When they do strike, I get right out of bed and put some weight through the leg. this not only flexes the foot putting the spasm-ed calf muscles on stretch, but weight bearing is supposed to have a mellowing effect on spastic muscles… a trick I learned as a physical therapist.
  3. Massage the muscles. I use the same massage oil I use for belly massage and to prevent stretch marks. If I’m lucky, I wake my husband with all my moving around (not to mention the sounds of pain that come from me, enough to have anyone in earshot swearing I was in labor) and he works my calves with the oil. One of only two perks I can think of from the whole calf pain thing.
  4. The other thing I do, and the second “perk” (if you can call it that) of having calf cramps to wake the dead in pregnancy… is that it gives me a chance to pretend I’m in labor. Yup. I actually have decided with each spasm to pretend I am indeed in labor… to soften my other muscles even as the one in questions locks into a spasm. This is exactly what occurs in labor, except that it’s my uterus doing the seizing not my leg muscles. I breathe in the mantra “I am love” and breathe out with “I am enough”. This really does help. Mind over matter? I think so.
  5. Following nights where the cramps were super bad, I wake up and soak my legs in as hot of water as I can stand. This REALLY sets me up to win… taking me from limping in pain to limp free in 20 minutes.
  6. And finally, I have started eating a banana, handful of almonds and glass of o.j. a day as I’ve read all of these can help. I think they do. That and being sure I remain hydrated through the day, but I tell ‘ya, if I drink any more water than I already am, I’m bound to float away.

I know I’m not the only one out there so I’d love to hear from you, misery loves company… do you get calf or leg cramps? when did they start? and what do you do about them that seems to work?

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34 Weeks : Like “Cantaloupes”
33 Weeks : Blessingways and Birth
32 Weeks : Other New Moms & Icing
31 Weeks : Newborn Baby Checklists
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19 Weeks : Sleep
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17 Weeks : Childbirth
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due logo This Zen Mommy Minute is published in partnership with Due Maternity, a great place for maternity clothes.  xoxo

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy

In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and expecting twins in Jan of 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Educator of  Infant Massage and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.