Leg Cramps During Pregnancy: Causes, Remedies, Ayurvedic Oil Massage

Cramps in pregnancy is a very common complaint.  Especially leg cramps at night during early pregnancy. There are many reasons for cramps during pregnancy. By following a few simple techniques, leg cramps can be easily avoided or minimized during pregnancy. A few lucky pregnant woman will have cramping only in early pregnancy, while some have it right throughout pregnancy.

Causes of leg cramps in pregnancy

  • During pregnancy, the body needs extra power to meet the added energy demands. Along with heart, kidney and lungs, the body muscles, especially leg muscles need extra energy to bear the increasing body weight of both the pregnant woman and the fetus. When there is a slight imbalance between energy demand and supply, leg cramps set in.
  • The increased size of uterus tends to put pressure on the back and hip, which results in pain radiating to the legs, resulting in leg cramps. The pressure on the back is more especially at night due to the sleeping posture.
  • Low levels of calcium and potassium is also a known cause for pregnancy cramps.
    pregnancy leg cramps

How to avoid cramps in pregnancy

  • Take good amount of calcium and potassium in diet.
  • Do not stand or sit for a long time. Try changing positions.
  • Try stretching the legs and rotate the ankle, whenever you remember to do so.
  • Regular oil massage in pregnancy helps in relaxing the muscles and keeps cramps at bay.
  • Just before going to bed, apply a few drops of the massage oil (listed below) and do gentle massage to calf muscle area for 2 – 3 minutes.

What to do when there is a leg cramp?

  • It is really horrible to have leg cramps at night, called nocturnal leg cramps.
  • Stretch the leg out, and try flexing the ankle and toes. Maintain that position for one minute.
  • Gently massage the calf muscle with both hands, make it warm.
  • If possible, try getting up and walk a small distance.
  • The best way to avoid pregnancy cramps at night is to apply herbal oil at night before going to bed.

Massage for leg cramps

Massage –  the best solution to avoid or resolve leg cramps

Oil massage, if possible, daily is the best way to strengthen the bones, muscles and joints. Massage is the best way to avoid leg cramps in pregnancy.

Keep the leg relaxed, apply sufficient quantity of oil and massage with mild to moderate pressure with the fingertips and the base of palm. Someone doing it for you is better than self massage.

Mild heat treatment after massage is very beneficial. Mild heat treatment can be given by dipping cloth in hot water and padding the legs with same or hot water sponge , rolling the bottle with hot water over the calf muscle or hot water bath / leg wash.

Useful oils for massage

Lakshadi taila
Ashwagandha bala lakshadi taila
Ksheerabala taila
Mahanarayana taila
Masha taila
Mahamasha taila etc

But on rare occasions, massage to be avoided.
If the leg is red, or inflamed, with very severe pain, it is best to consult doctor.
Foot cramps can be relieved by following simple foot pain remedies.

Abdomen / stomach cramps in pregnancy

Stomach cramps in pregnancy is a very sensitive issue. Abdomen cramps can happen due to various reasons at various stages of pregnancy. Rather than browsing the internet  and getting confused about the nature of the abdomen cramp, it is better to consult your doctor to know the reason or for treatment.

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