How to treat leg pain during pregnancy

 

Pregnancy Leg Pain Relief

Are you suffering from leg pains such as leg cramps, restless leg syndrome, and varicose veins during pregnancy?

I feel for you, mama! I understand the pain and the sleepless nights! 

I’m currently in my 2nd trimester and am 25 weeks pregnant. Within the last few weeks, I’ve been suffering from leg cramps at night, restless leg syndrome, and varicose veins on my one leg.

I’ve had a few of these issues with my previous pregnancies but I feel like this one started earlier than before and has been the worst! 

So, if you’re a pregnant mom struggling to find a solution to help your leg cramps at night, then look no more!

I will explain in detail what causes leg cramps during pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, and varicose veins. Also, how you can treat these leg problems and possibly prevent them as well!

What are Leg Cramps?

Pregnancy leg cramps are sharp pains that occur in the back of your calf normally at night. These involuntary muscle contractions can also take place in your feet as well as your legs. 

Causes of Leg Cramps and Pains During Pregnancy

Pregnancy leg cramps usually start in the second or third trimester. Just when you think you’re over the rough first trimester and can enjoy pregnancy a little bit then BAM! You wake up with awful leg pains or “Charley horses” in the middle of the night! 

Leg cramps during pregnancy are normally painful but don’t last very long. Standing up and stretching out your leg as quickly as you can usually alleviates the pain.

So, what causes leg cramps and leg pains during pregnancy?

Most doctors say that leg cramps and pains are caused by the extra weight that is gained during pregnancy. It seems that leg cramps can also be caused by the uterus pressing on certain nerves, fatigue, dehydration, a magnesium or potassium deficiency, or decreased circulation in the legs. (Source)

 

Home Remedies for Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

  • Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water throughout the day will help with any leg cramps or pains you may have. Most of us don’t drink enough water throughout the day! As busy moms, we can get sidetracked and forget to drinks as much as we need to!


 

  • Exercise! Be sure to keep those legs moving during the day! If you work at an office job, make sure you get up often and move around to keep those legs circulating blood!
  • Check your magnesium intake! You may be magnesium deficient and will need to add more to your diet! There are a few ways you can do this! You can add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, take magnesium baths, or use a magnesium supplement or spray



 

  • Eat foods high in potassium! Stock up on some bananas to help improve your potassium intake! Once I started eating a banana a day, sometimes two, it helped relieve my leg cramps dramatically! If you don’t like bananas, try pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or even drinking coconut water! All of these foods will help your leg cramps!
     

     
  • Check your prenatal vitamins! Be sure to check your prenatal vitamins and see exactly what’s in them! Some prenatal vitamins leave out important nutrients for pregnant mamas that can help battle leg problems during pregnancy. Below are some of my favorite, yes, they are on the pricier side but you pay for what you get and they have everything in them that a pregnant mother needs! 


 

 

Restless Leg Syndrome during pregnancy

If you’re never heard of this, be thankful!

This has to be one of the weirdest pregnancy issues I’ve had with all 4 of my pregnancies. Fortunately, I’ve only had this with my first and fourth pregnancy and somehow got by without this effecting me during my 2nd and third pregnancy. 

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome is tingling, uncomfortable sensation women experience in their legs that give them the urge to move them around! You can’t wait to get off your feet and once you do, your legs want to dance!

Personally, my legs feel a burning, almost tingling-like feeling that I need to stretch them out or massage them. It’s an unbearable pain but it’s an annoyance almost more than anything else. I want to lay down at night and finally rest but my legs seem to have other plans for the night! 

Restless leg syndrome takes place in about 1/3 of pregnant women. It is nothing major to worry about but always check with your doctor and let her know this condition is happening to you. You may not even notice any restless leg symptoms until bedtime. This is when restless leg syndrome normally takes place. Most women start to get RLS at the end of their second trimester or early third trimester. 

What causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

The main causes of his leg problem during pregnancy are unclear, however, doctors suggest it can be caused by lack of iron, folate, ferritin levels, or even a deficiency in vitamin D.

For more information about restless leg syndrome, click here

Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy Home Remedies 

So, how can you help alleviate these terrible leg symptoms and finally get some rest? 

A few supplements you can take may be needed to help this condition improve. Remember, always talk to your doctor before adding new supplements to your diet! 

  • Check your iron levels Iron supplement A few things that may help is making sure you have enough iron in your diet! Check your prenatal vitamins to see how much iron you’re getting and possibly switch to a better prenatal like this one or add an iron supplement to see if that improves your RLS. I like this one below by Rainbow Light because it is non-constipating so it won’t cause more issues than you’re already having! Floradix also makes a liquid iron supplement that our doctor recommended and is also non-constipating as well.

     

     
  • Make sure you are eating enough folate and have it in your prenatal vitamins! Not having enough folate in your diet can have a big impact on your legs and overall health during pregnancy. Again, be sure to choose a great prenatal vitamin like the ones below or eat more greens! Foods high in folate are legumes, eggs, asparagus, leafy greens, and even avocados! For more information about foods high in folate, click here!  



  • Check your vitamin D intake! Some women may be deficient in vitamin D and may need more than what the average prenatal contains. Check with your doctor about how much vitamin D you should be taking. Also, before you buy a new supplement, see how much vitamin D3 is in your prenatal! I personally take the Carlson brand below and love it! Here is an interesting study that was done involving pregnant women taking high doses of vitamin D if you’re a nerd like me and interested! 

 

  • Try compression stockings! Okay, so this is probably not the sexiest option out there! However, compression stockings are known to help encourage proper blood flow in your legs. Compression socks can also fight inflammation and promote good circulation which is exactly what is needed to lessen the intense feeling of RLS. Check them out for yourself and see what you think! Also, talk to your doctor about using compression socks and what they may advise for you. 



 

  • Medications for RLS during pregnancy? There are medications your doctor can recommend for Restless leg syndrome during pregnancy but most of them do come with some side effects and may not always be safe. Talk to your doctor about what they feel is best for your condition. To read more about RLS and its treatments, click here
  • Get some sleep! Well, I’m sure you’ve tried but it hasn’t been easy, right? Try sticking to the same sleep schedule every day and night. This mean, getting up at the same time every morning and going to bed at the same time each night. If you haven’t invested in one of these pregnancy pillows below, I suggest you do so! These are a must-have for your pregnancy, especially that third trimester! 


 

 

Varicose Veins during pregnancy

Last but not least, I couldn’t mention leg pains and leg issues during pregnancy without bringing up the infamous varicose veins!

I personally went through 2 pregnancies varicose vein free! Then I got pregnant with my third and that changed! I’m now having the same issue with my fourth pregnancy! 

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are bumpy, bulging veins that can be painful, itchy, and uncomfortable. (Source) Varicose veins can appear not only in your legs but also in your vulva as well. Did you know that hemorrhoids are another type of varicose vein?

Oh yes, we lucky pregnant women get to experience all of this loveliness! 

What Causes Varicose Veins During Pregnancy?

I’ve always noticed these veins on my mother’s legs growing up but never thought much of it.

Well, guess what? Yes, these varicose veins are in fact hereditary! If you have these, chances are most likely your daughter will have these wonderful leg pains during their pregnancies as well! 

Pregnancy increases your chances of having varicose veins because normally veins have one-way valves to keep blood flowing toward the heart.

During pregnancy, your blood volume increases which enlarge the veins and can cause bulging varicose veins. Also, pressure from the growing baby can also cause blood vessels to swell. Even hormone changes can cause a slow return of blood to the heart that can cause swelling and bulging veins. Constipation and being overweight can cause pressure in the pelvic or vulva and cause hemorrhoids to appear.

How To Treat Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Once you get varicose veins, they will probably stay with you until after you have the baby. However, one amazing thing is that in most cases, they go away a few months after the baby is born! 

The veins I had on my left leg with my 3rd baby actually disappeared within a month after having my daughter! Depending on how bad your veins on, will depend on how long it takes for them to go away. Once I became pregnant with my fourth baby, those same varicose veins in my left leg came back! 

So, what can we do to treat those painful varicose veins?

Here are ways that have helped me treat my varicose veins during pregnancy and made them appear better over time!

  • Stay active By staying active, I mean regular exercise like swimming or yoga is great for blood circulation. Standing in one place is not good for varicose veins and can cause them to become worse and more uncomfortable. If you do have to stand for long periods, change positions while standing as much as you can.
  • Elevate your legs At the end of your day or whenever you get a chance, be sure to raise your legs up to rest every so often. This helps blood flow back down your legs and takes the pressure off to improve circulation.  
  • Avoid high heels Try and avoid any uncomfortable shoes such as high heels as much as possible. This is the last thing you need dealing with varicose veins during pregnancy. Buy yourself some cute, comfortable shoes that won’t cause any leg or foot pain.
  • Buy compression socks or stockings ASAP! As mentioned above, compression socks are wonderful and can help treat and lesson the appearance and pain of varicose veins! Trust me when I say that these will help you dramatically! If you have any of the leg problems mentioned here on this post, compression socks are a must-have! They may not be the sexiest things to wear but there are some cute ones and I’ve noticed how much they help with my leg pains! One day of not wearing these and you can tell the difference! Click on the photos below for no-show compression socks to be discreet and full-length compression stockings for thigh and full leg support.



 

  • Stay hydrated Drinking plenty of water every day can help relieve hemorrhoids and also help with blood circulation. Be sure to get a cute water bottle and continue to hydrate all day long a much as you can! 
  • Relieve constipation symptoms If you are experiencing more hemorrhoid issues than varicose veins, talk to your doctor and adding more fiber to your diet or a probiotic to help keep things moving! Below is one of my favorites! 
  • Try sleeping on your left side According to Web MD, sleeping on your left side during pregnancy can improve your blood flow and minimize pressure from the uterus on your veins.
  • Check your vitamin C intake Vitamin C plays a crucial role in promoting good blood circulation and the production of college which strengthens the walls of our veins. Talk to your doctor and check your prenatal vitamin to make sure you are taking enough vitamin c. Below are some of my favorites that I add to my juice and my children’s as well to make sure we all get enough vitamin c. 

  • Check your vitamin E intake Vitamin E is another vitamin that is very important for blood circulation. Again, talk to your doctor about your current prenatal vitamin and see if there’s enough Vitamin E in it to benefit you. By eating more foods high in vitamin E such as broccoli, spinach, and kiwi will help treat and relieve varicose veins. You could also add a supplement such as the one below but always go over what supplements you are taking with your doctor first. 

 

I hope these natural remedies for leg pain during pregnancy help some of you out! I know how awful leg cramps and varicose veins can affect you during pregnancy and make your pregnancy feel like the longest 9 months ever! Try some of these treatments for pregnancy leg pain and see if they work for you! 

If after you have the baby and you continue to still have varicose veins, talk to your doctor about other treatments that can be available such as laser treatments and creams that you may benefit from. 

 

Looking for a way to naturally treat headaches during pregnancy? Click here or the photo below!

pregnancy headaches

Are you about to have a c-section? Click here or the photo below to find out what to expect! 

Preparing for a scheduled c section

 

Are you in your second trimester? Check out these must-have items I couldn’t live without! 

Second Trimester Must Haves

 

 

 

 

How to treat leg pains during pregnancy

 

Leg pain during pregnancy

 

How to ease leg pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy Leg Pain Relief