Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Leg Cramps During Pregnancy - Topic Overview

    Leg cramps affect almost half of all pregnant women.1 The cause of leg cramps during pregnancy is not fully known, but they may be caused by reduced levels of calcium or increased levels of phosphorus in the blood. Leg cramps are more common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and happen most often at night.

    There is no proof that increasing your intake of calcium or potassium will prevent leg cramps.1

    If you get a leg cramp:

    • Straighten your leg.
    • Flex your foot so that your ankle and toes point up (toward your head).
    • Massage your calf.
    • Walk around to stretch your calf.
    • Avoid pointing your toes when you stretch your legs.

    Although uncommon, a blood clot can form in a deep vein of the leg (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) during pregnancy. DVT can be life-threatening and requires medical treatment.

    Symptoms of DVT include severe leg pain or tenderness (not cramps), swelling of the leg and foot, and fever. The leg may have a bluish (cyanotic) or pale color and may be either hot or cold to the touch. If any leg pain persists (especially with leg swelling), contact your doctor immediately.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Leg Cramps During Pregnancy Topics

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow