Cramps during pregnancy are one of the most common occurrences during the first trimester (initial three months). In some cases, it is treated as a sign and symptoms of implantation. In most cases, it is not a sign of concern but if this is accompanied by bleeding or spotting, then medical intervention is required.
Symptoms of Cramps in Early Pregnancy
Some of the most common symptoms of cramps in early pregnancy are:
- Sharp shooting pain, usually occurring in the dead of the night, causing the woman to get up from her sleep.
- The pain is usually in the calf, thigh or foot. It is theorized that during pregnancy, size of the girth increases leading to tension in the muscles that can cause these cramps. It can also occur during the third trimester.
Causes of Cramps in Early Pregnancy
- Having cramps in early pregnancy has been linked to genetics. If the mother had these symptoms during pregnancy, most likely, the daughter will have them too.
- During pregnancy, there is change in the circulation of blood that can lead to this condition.
- When a woman becomes pregnant, the size and weight of the uterus increases and this can press on the leg blood vessels.
- During pregnancy, women often suffer from muscle fatigue which can lead to cramps.
- Deficiency of salt, calcium, potassium and magnesium can lead to early pregnancy cramps.
- Increase intake of phosphorous can interfere with absorption of calcium leading to early pregnancy cramps.
Management of early pregnancy cramps
Early pregnancy cramps can be excruciatingly painful and hence need to be managed. If they are much more than just early signs of pregnancy, then timely management can help evade complications.
- During early pregnancy cramps, sit on the ground or on the bed and stretch your legs out, heels pointing out first and then gently bend your toes. Though this may add to the pain, it helps to get rid of the cramps in a short while.
- Press the area with hot water bottle. This is said to ease the cramp in sometime.
- Ask someone to massage your calf vigorously, when you start to have the pain.
How to prevent early pregnancy cramps?
- One of the main causes of cramps is deficiency of magnesium, calcium and potassium. Therefore, it is advised that patients start taking multivitamins, recommended by doctors.
- Be involved in some form of physical activities during pregnancy such as walking and climbing stairs as these can keep the circulation going.
- Do not sit or stand with your legs crossed for long as it can hinder circulation.
- Get someone to massage your legs at least once a day to ensure that there is healthy circulation.
- While talking on the phone or watching TV, rotate your ankles and wriggle your toes. This will ensure a healthy circulation.
- Drink water, juice and milk through the day to ensure that you are in a hydrated state.
- Have a warm bath just before going to bed. This will help to relax the muscles.
Do not over do a task as that can increase your level of stress.