Cramping is one of those little problems in pregnancy that you could happily do without. But don’t panic, getting rid of it is not only possible, it’s easy.
First, you have to identify it correctly
Cramp is a sudden, intense, involuntary, temporary but often very painful muscle contraction. Most of the time, it occurs at night and is more likely to affect your calf muscles than those of the thigh or toe. And, of course, it occurs more frequently during pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that, among other things, slow the return circulation. It is not harmful and can easily be prevented. However, a simple muscle cramp must not be confused with the development of a vascular problem. In this case, the pain that makes the calf muscle tense always occurs when walking (never when resting), ceases when you stop and always starts again after the same number of steps, about ten metres further on. To rule out any suspicion of arteritis (a condition affecting the artery in the leg), it is best to consult the doctor who will most probably carry out a Doppler ultrasound scan.
How to avoid cramp
Hydrate.Cramp is always increased by dehydration, which causes the muscle to contract due to poor waste removal.
Stop smoking . Tobacco causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) and a rush of CO2 which undermines good muscular irrigation and oxygenation.
Magnesium. A lack of magnesium adversely affects muscle relaxation, it may be necessary to take a look at your diet (and make a little more effort with the dark chocolate!) or supplement. But always on medical advice as excess magnesium may cause digestive problems.
Warm up properly . Don’t run to catch a bus or take part in any sporting activity without warming up for at least 15 minutes beforehand to allow the muscles to become sufficiently oxygenated to recover from the effort without accumulating lactic acid, a toxin that encourages cramping
How to get rid of cramping
Stretch... At the time, the only solution is to stretch the muscle gently in the direction opposite hyper extension. Pull the toes forward in the case of cramping of the instep. In the case of cramping in the calf muscle,this time, pull your foot at a right angle or walk on your heels. Or, standing, place the tip of the foot against a piece of furniture with your heel on the floor and move the body towards the wall to stretch.
Heat... Apply a hot water bottle to relax the contraction and leave it in place for 20 minutes for longer-lasting relief. Take care above all, of course, not to burn yourself...
Relax... It may be worth massaging the area with a cream formulated specifically for use during pregnancy (some active ingredients can be contraindicated) if the pain is still there the next day. Always massage towards the heart and without pressing too hard.
Rest... This easy procedure consists of elevating the legs at the foot of the bed to improve venous return. Make sure also to get plenty of sleep as lack of sleep causes fatigue, which... encourages cramping.
Avoid... Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs as they make the blood more fluid and worsen bleeding from the muscle. In any case, these medicines are not recommended during pregnancy.