While the feeling of exuberance and celebration is inexplicable when you get to know that you are pregnant but giving birth to a child is not easy. Pregnancy comes with its own complications and challenges. One of the complications that come along with pregnancy is pregnancy cramps. Most of the women experience severe leg cramps during pregnancy, abdominal cramps during pregnancy, pain in pelvic area, period cramps, etc.
Also read: Common Infections During Pregnancy And How To Avoid Them
Here we will discuss all about pregnancy cramps, why is it caused, and what are the possible solutions.
Also read: 10 Most Common Complications During Pregnancy
Pregnancy cramps: Causes and solutions
Causes of cramps during pregnancy
A pregnant woman can get cramps in the different parts of her body like legs and abdomen. This can get stretchy. Pregnancy cramps are often adjudged as one of the common symptoms of pregnancy. The cramps are an expected and normal part of the pregnancy unless it is too painful.
These are some of the causes of cramps during pregnancy
Cramping during the first trimester is more common than the cramps during pregnancy second trimester. In the first three months of the pregnancy, the cramping occurs due to the rapid changes happening in the body. As the size of the baby increases and baby development happens, the changes in the body become more significant. If the cramping is not too intense even if it is frequent, then you must not get worried.
- Cramping happens due to the expansion of the uterus. The cramping can get more when you suddenly change your position or when you sneeze or cough.
- In the second trimester of pregnancy, the cramping mostly happens due to the stretching of the ligaments that supports the uterus. When the uterus stretches itself, it causes the adjoining ligaments and the muscles to stretch too. The cramping arising out of the ligament expansion lead to intense pain.
- Constipation in pregnant women can also cause cramps.
- Carrying heavy things can lead to severe cramps.
- Weight gain that is bound to happen in pregnancy and it also causes cramps.
- Leg cramps in pregnancy are also common which affects the back of the calf. Though it is a common pregnancy symptom, the doctors do not know clearly why does it happen, says Amanda Selk, who is a gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. To believe some theories, leg cramps during pregnancy can happen due to tiredness and lethargy or due to the pressure of the uterus on leg nerves. Another reason cited for the legs cramp is the low blood circulation in the leg arising of excessive baby pressure on the blood vessels.
- In some women, the cramps can also be caused because of nutritional deficiencies like calcium or magnesium.
Sometimes the cramps can occur due to the bloating in the stomach. Due to the increased level of progesterone in the body, which relaxes the muscles, the pregnant women fart more and face gastric issues.
- Sexual intercourse can also lead to cramps. Though sex is safe in pregnancy, but do ask your doctor before indulging in, because in some high-risk pregnancies the doctors do not allow sex.
- Sometimes severe cramping can happen due to things like ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, preeclampsia, preterm labor, UTI, or placental abruption. You must see your doctor if the pain is too much to check if one of these is the reason.
Also read: Best Sex Positions During Pregnancy
Solutions for cramps during pregnancy
If the abdominal or leg cramps in pregnancy are not too bothersome or painful, you must ignore it as cramping is quite normal to happen in pregnancy. But if the cramps are getting difficult to handle, you must consult your doctor. S/he may prescribe you a medication to relax your uterus which can help relieve some pain. Else, there are a few tips and things mentioned below which you can do at your home to prevent or treat the cramps.
- The first thing that can help slightly in reducing the cramping discomfort is, to often change your sitting or sleeping position. Try to remain in a position which you find comfortable. Avoid being in the same position for a long time.
- A warm bath does help to relieve cramps. Because frequent bath is not plausible, you can also use the hot water bottle which must be wrapped in a soft and thick cloth to place it on the area where it is cramping.
- Some women get cramps due to the dehydration in the body. You must drink plenty of water and other liquids like at least 8 glasses per day. You will immediately notice some change.
- Exercises that help to relax muscles can be done regularly. Just make sure to ask your practitioner before you start so that it does not adversely affect you.
- When you get a spasm in the legs, you can try to massage your leg and foot to see if it helps. Mild exercises like slowly lifting your toes up and then down, pushing the heel in and out, lifting the leg and doing slight stretching of the leg muscles in a standing position can help get over some pain.
- Ask your doctor to suggest some calcium or magnesium medicines if the tests reveal that you have a calcium or magnesium deficiency.
- Consider wearing support hose. You can wear stockings if you have cramps in the leg.
Also read: Weight Gain During Pregnancy (Trimester By Trimester)
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