Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leg Cramps

As we entered week 19 I got my normal pregnancy update and this time it focused on leg cramps. My first thoughts were, "I got them about a week ago, I didn't realize they went along with the baby!"
Although they do not know for sure what causes these leg cramps, there are several theories:
  • fatigue from carrying around extra weight
  • blood vessels in the legs being compressed
  • excess of phosphorus or shortage of calcium or magnesium in your diet
  • dehydration
  • hormones!!!!

At first I didn't think too much of it as I have had them in the past. I made sure to drink a lot of water and bought bananas; I had always been told leg cramps were caused by a lack of potassium. After that one night and my 'solution' the cramps didn't come back. A few weeks later I had them again but I also realized that I had run out of bananas so I went back to my cure and didn't have them again.

Now, I am not saying that bananas are the cure, here are some suggestions that I found online:

  • straighten your leg and flex your ankle toward your nose (I usually forget which way I should flex and go the wrong way causing even more pain)
  • stretch your legs before going to bed
  • put your legs up as often as you can during the day
  • avoid standing or sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time
  • stand on a cold surface
  • drink enough during the day
  • exercise each day
  • gently massage your legs during the cramp
  • take a warm bath before bedtime
  • avoid getting too tired
  • sleep on your left side

I was talking to a friend and she had also heard about putting a bar of soap under your bed sheet; my first thought was "That sounds crazy!" Thank goodness I hadn't needed to go that far, if I ate a banana a day I wasn't having a problem.

I did look the tip up though as I was curious to know more. Sure enough, most websites that talk about leg cramps suggested the bar of soap trick. I decided to keep this information the the back of my head as I just might need it one day. Go figure, 4 nights ago I had leg cramps again and I had been consistent with the bananas!! After 2 nights with no relief I decided to put a bar of soap under the fitted bed sheet, if nothing else the bed would smell clean!! I woke up the next morning and was amazed that I hadn't had a cramp!! I tried it again last night; I have a head cold and was up most of the night, if I felt soreness in my leg I would locate the bar of soap and lay my leg on it for immediate relief!!

I am very amazed by all of this, who would think soap would take the serious cramp away?

Still curious, I looked up the reasons for soap relieving cramps, here is what I found: "Most leg cramp maladies can be associated with dehydration and depletion of potassium. Gator-ade has sodium chloride, which replenishes lost potassium, as well as rehydrates. Amazingly enough, most bar soaps also contain sodium chloride. During sleep, it is absorbed through the skin from the bar of soap."

So, I am here to tell you it works but I have found a difficulty with it. The bar of soap moves around under the sheets and I have to locate it as I need it. Also, one bar of soap isn't big enough for 2 legs!! I have thought about cutting an ace bandage in 2 and wrapping a bar of soap on each leg; I I continue to have problems I just might!!

I am curious if anybody else has had a problem with leg cramps during pregnancy and what you found to be helpful.

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  1. Oh my goodness! You're proof! As odd as it sounds - one of those random things that I guess was good to know! Glad you had some relief with it! Now to keep it in place...??? We should brainstorm on this one and become millionaires! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Oh wow, do I ever remember the charley horses! I found that the best thing to do was to jump out of bed and stretch. They'd immediately go away and I could hop back in bed. I eventually got good enough that I could stretch my leg well enough while still laying down!