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Leg Cramps at night...how horrible! Anyone else?

(24 Posts)
NewMummy5July2011 Fri 27-May-11 07:21:55

Hi all

I'm 34.5 weeks and last night was abruptly woken in my sleep by the most painful thing I have ever encountered - leg cramp. It was really scary how painful it was, my DH massaged my leg and I gradually was able to stretch it, but it still hurts this morning.

Has anyone else experienced this? Any tips for preventing them and do you know why they occur?

littlemisslozza Fri 27-May-11 07:27:58

Ow!! Yes, I get them too (and have in my previous 2 pregnancies). Sometimes I get them in the daytime as well. I don't think they definitely know why they happen but there are a number of theories. I have tried different bits of advice (can't remember it all at the moment sorry, but google or look up threads on here) but nothing has worked for me unfortunately! I had the added 'bonus' of restless legs last night just as I was trying to get to sleep. Torture. Not fair when I've been busy all day with the children and I want to rest!

icravecheese Fri 27-May-11 07:40:38

yes, i'm on preg no.3, 19 weeks, and had my first night time awful leg cramp the other night. Got the same with my previous 2 pregs...I agree that its really horrible, i can't actually straighten or do anything with my leg when it happens, i HAVE to get out of bed & stand on it. I also used to get terrible carpal tunnel in my forearms (goes all numb & pins & needles) at night, but luckily not had it this preg yet... I just put it down to being the fun of pregnancy, not sure you can do anything to prevent it. At least you've only got 6 or so weeks left!! x

mousymouse Fri 27-May-11 07:46:15

I had that too with both of my pregnancies. what helped me was keeping feet/legs warm in bed (hot water bottle) and taking magnesium before going to bed.

NewMummy5July2011 Fri 27-May-11 09:00:46

Thanks all. Mousymouse - will give the hot water bottle a try tonight to see if that helps. Thank goodness only 6 weeks to go - am scared about going to bed tonight already for fear of another one!

Rootatoot Fri 27-May-11 09:04:30

Hi Newmummy....

I had a bout of this a few weeks ago. Tonic Water/isotonic sports drinks & bananas were the suggestions I've had. I haven't had it since thank goodness but I am being careful not to stretch my legs when I wake up. Quite tricky as it's a bit of a reflex I think.

It's horrid tho. My calf was sore for a few days after.

bilblio Fri 27-May-11 09:25:28

My MW told me to drink at least a pint of milk a day during my first pregnancy... partly because you need it, but also to stop leg cramps. I hate milk but love milkshakes so had to have a milkshake every day. If I went a couple of days without milkshakes I got leg cramps.

51wksApart Fri 27-May-11 09:33:00

I was told about the magnesium/calcium supplement thing but it never did anything for me. What did help hugely was a large glass of tonic water - the quinine is very helpful for cramps and it really really worked for me and I would wake be waking with both feet and both calves completely knotted. If you want to pretend it is more gin like you can always put some juniper berries in too. It makes it smell right :-) You do have to drink it every night though.

MotherPanda Fri 27-May-11 09:40:37

really - Have a glass of tonic water just before you go to bed.

If your diet is low on salt, you should also have some crisps before bed.

I've had awful cramps since around 20 weeks, so i had blood tests done to check my magnesium and potassium levels - it wasnt this for me but you could always eat a bananna to help smile

Tonic water really really helps, i was getting woken up 5 times a night with cramps, and now its only 3 times a week. Makes things a bit more cosy smile

WizzyBizzy Fri 27-May-11 09:46:29

I had this in first pregnancy and you've just reminded me I probably have it to look forward to this time round!

Increasing your salt intake (a bit - nothing silly) supposed to help, as is potassium. So maybe add a bit of salt to your dinner (not a silly amount of course) and have a banana for pudding.

Also when you feel the cramp coming on flex your ankle up so your toes point towards your bump. This really does help and is less difficult than getting up and standing on it.

BeeBopBunny Fri 27-May-11 09:50:18

Have you tried sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs? It helped me. It helps to prevent reduced blood flow to the legs apparently.

apricotears Fri 27-May-11 10:16:19

Omg, yes! I have had these regularly since about 16 weeks I think, now 26 weeks. Some nights I am up three-four times, hobbling around the room like a numpty!

I know it's going to be a bad night, when I just stretch and feel the 'twinge' start! Ouch!

barelyutterly Fri 27-May-11 10:22:55

Electrolyte tablets for me, along with some vitamin C, seems to keep them at bay. Also just staying well-hydrated. Not sitting cross-legged or bending my legs suddenly while lying in bed also helps. These days I can feel them coming on and most times react in time to stop them but they are painful when they happen! A little bit of calf massage -- roll the meaty part of your calf over your opposite knee to dig in there and soften it up before you go to sleep -- seems to be good too.

NewMummy5July2011 Fri 27-May-11 14:55:13

Thanks for all the advice everyone - I have plenty of calcium so I know it can't be related to that, but I'll definitely try the other suggestions posted here. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen again tonight.... !

sleepybump Fri 27-May-11 15:16:21

yup they are just nasty nasty when they happen!

I was getting them multiple times everynight, but not (or only the light feeling of the ache beginning to grow) since:

-walking for 15 mins before bed/early evening (if not really active during the day)
-been drinking more plain water generally (not tonic, just normal bottled) and taking a bottle to bed with me
-making sure sheets are loose over my feet so they can move during the sleep and naturally point towards the ceiling if needed (not squashed in a pointy-toe position)
-stretching legs when sitting for long periods, by stretching legs out and pointing feet up/ towards bump and down a couple of times
-'standing tall' (with feet flat on the floor and arms by my side) to stretch my back out a few times in the day, which is a nice gentle/relaxed stretch and helps all muscles to remain more supple down my back and legs

I also was sceptical about stretching out the cramp before it gets bad by pointing my feet towards the ceiling/bump (i'd previously just breathed and relaxed through it or stood up ASAP) - but it has worked on those few occasions I've been getting the ache beginning!

schmee Fri 27-May-11 20:32:06

Just a quicky on this - juniper should definitely be avoided in pregnancy, and some countries say you should avoid tonic water as the quinine can damage the baby's eyesight. Sorry to be a downer on it - I only found out after I was chucking bottles of the stuff down to try to cure my leg cramps. So maybe try the magnesium/calcium route.

banana87 Fri 27-May-11 20:46:03

I had this in my last pregnancy. When you feel the cramp coming on start flexing and bending your feet, it wards off the cramp. Tried and tested smile

candr Fri 27-May-11 20:57:35

I sympathise as I have this nightly, since eating a banana each night I only get it once night at about 5am. Have a heat pad that I turn on when I start t feel it but it is the pits and can reall hurt all the next day. Dr said not to drink quinine which was recomnded by others. For most it goes after baby is born so good luck

nearlyreadytopop Fri 27-May-11 22:00:03

Midwife advised no tonic water due to quinine and instead to drink a large glass of milk just before bed. Milk worked for me.

Rootatoot Fri 27-May-11 22:54:12

great! I asked my doctor about tonic and she said it'd be fine as it's such a small amount. She's generally v sensible and i trust her, but seems there is conflicting advice between the health professionals. confused

Booboostoo Fri 27-May-11 23:01:41

I was getting 4-5 muscles cramping all at the same time 4-5 times a night, I could hardly sleep but magnesium sorted it out. I have to take 3x200mls a day though, otherwise they come back immediately!

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 27-May-11 23:05:35

Sympathies. I had this with all my pregnancies. I always felt like it was a cruel trick-make a woman a shape that makes her flounder like a turtle on its back while trying to get out of bed, then give her leg cramp that means she has to try to get up in a hurry!!

I second (third? fourth?) bananas, but it is a nightmare! A sympathetic DH/Dp could rub, but mine used to be incapacitated laughing at my turtle-on-its-back routine angry

humph123 Sat 28-May-11 08:46:38

i've only had it happen once and it was sooo painful. a couple of times when i've gone to stretch my legs in bed i can start to feel it come on so I quickly put a stop to the stretching. i've heard hot water bottles can help.

MotherPanda Sat 28-May-11 08:53:23

Re tonic water - one glass a day is fine. Anymore and it can cause problems rather than solve it.

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