Leg Cramps During Pregnancy?

Why do I get leg cramps and how can I get rid of them?
profile picture of David E. Zepeda, MD
ByDavid E. Zepeda, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
Mar 2017
Hero Image

You’re not alone — leg cramps (otherwise known as charley horses) are actually quite common during pregnancy and may signal one or two things: a lack of nutrients or dehydration. When your body doesn’t have enough water or sodium, your muscles can contract; this is what you feel as a cramp. To prevent cramps caused by dehydration, be sure you’re drinking between 8 and 12 glasses of water a day. If water’s not quite your thing, you can include milk, juice (avoid juice packed with sugar), sparkling water and decaf tea and coffee in the mix, too.
The other problem may be your diet. Drops in potassium, calcium or magnesium can all lead to muscle spasms. Now that you’re pregnant, you should have 4,700 milligrams of potassium, 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium and 350 to 360 milligrams of magnesium per day.
Leg cramps tend to be more common (and painful!) in the third trimester. So if you haven’t felt this yet, you may still — just think of all that extra weight your legs are going to have to carry soon! In addition to eating and drinking right, there are some things you can do to limit those sharp pains in your calves. Stretching will keep your muscles more elastic and less likely to contract. Walking around and getting that blood flowing might help, too.

Related Video

Hasbro Pulls Trolls Doll Amidst Complaints of Inappropriate Sensor Feature

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
08/07/2020

Child’s Temperament May Drive How Much TV They Watch, Study Says

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
08/07/2020

The UPPAbaby Is on Sale for 25 Percent Off at Buybuy BABY Right Now

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
08/07/2020

Bachelor Alum Claps Back at People Who Say Her Kid Is Too Old to Breastfeed

Emily Gillen, PhD
Health Services Researcher
Published
08/06/2020

Ashley Graham Is Sharing Her Favorite Newborn Essentials

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
08/06/2020

4 Ways Black Moms-to-Be Can Combat Disparities in Prenatal Care

Jacquelin Knighton
Birth and Postpartum Doula

How to Make Sense of Your Hospital Bills After Birth

Emily Gillen, PhD
Health Services Researcher

Ashley Graham Celebrates Her Postpartum Body With Nude Photoshoot

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
08/04/2020
Advertisement