How to vanquish your pregnancy nemesis: leg cramps

Physiotherapy Uncategorized Women’s Health Workout Tips
leg cramps when pregnant

We bet you thought the nausea, heartburn, having to pee like a camel, and teenage-boy level hunger were enough sleep-disrupting pregnancy symptoms to deal with.

But if there’s anything you’ve learned on this beautiful pregnancy journey, it’s that there is always room for one more symptom coming at you from the far reaches of Hades. 

Enter leg cramps. 

Yeah, we hate them, too. 

But we’ve got a three-step attack plan that will have you defeating your new foe once and for all. 

First up: Weaponise your nutrition

Did you know that the top cause of leg cramps is low magnesium

Yep. If you’re constantly in need of a leg massage, your muscle tightness just doesn’t know how to quit, or your morning stretch has you seizing up in pain, getting more magnesium will help you feel human again. 

Fix this quick by adding a magnesium supplement to your prenatal pill routine. 

But heads up, buttercup! Pay attention to the dosage: you’ll need to look for 300mg of Magnesium Citrate (*NOT* oxide – you don’t need the runs on top of everything else, sister). 

A powder form is best, and we like the one from Essential Nutrients (not sponsored, we just want you to get your paws on the most readily available version). 

Next: Stretch before the cramps attack

Muscles need oxygen-rich blood to heal, but if yours are tight, they’re cutting off their own blood supply like their own worst enemy. 

Here’s the most common plot of this tragedy: 

  1. Your muscles are already tight …
  2. Then you lay down for some beauty sleep …
  3. Your heart rate drops …
  4. Your blood pumps slower …
  5. Your muscles get oxygen-deprived, and BOOM! A nuclear bomb has gone off in your calf and jolts you awake. 


Stop the cycle by stretching your hamstrings and calves every night, which increases blood flow and sets you up for the fairy tale night’s sleep you deserve. 

Finally: Power up your blood flow

Stretching isn’t the only secret weapon in your arsenal. 

Listen close as we whisper in your ear the final tool you’ll need to defeat leg cramps: moist hot packs. 

Seriously – they’re our ride-or-die, our BFF, and we shall forever sing their praises. 

Turns out, increasing the temperature of a muscle makes it a magnet for blood flow – which, as you know, brings in all that juicy healing oxygen and makes your muscles oh-so-happy. 

So toss a rice bag in the microwave before you go to bed (leave a mug of water in there – safety first, ladies!), and lay it on your most moody muscles to soothe them into sleep. 

You: A million. Leg cramps: Zero. 

Want more ways to keep your muscles strong?

Check out our four Pilates fitness programs and get those muscles back online, gorgeous