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Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Overview

Leg cramps are common during pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. And they happen most often at night. Doctors don't know exactly what causes leg cramps during pregnancy.

Here are some things you can do to help relieve a leg cramp.

  • Stretch your leg (flex your toes toward your head).
  • Place a heating pad or warm water bottle on your leg.

Here are some things you can do that may help prevent leg cramps.

  • Get regular exercise.
  • Take a warm bath before going to bed.

Leg pain or tenderness (not cramps) may be a sign of a serious problem called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT isn't common during pregnancy, but it can be life-threatening and requires medical treatment.

DVT may cause your calf or thigh to ache or feel tender when you touch or squeeze it or when you stand or move. The affected leg may be swollen, feel warm, and look redder than the other leg. If you have any leg pain that doesn't go away (especially with leg swelling), contact your doctor or midwife right away.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Research Health Topics

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