Leg cramps affect almost half of all pregnant women.footnote 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.footnote 1
If you get a leg cramp:
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
CitationsKatz VL (2008). Prenatal care. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 1-21. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 16, 2017
Current as of:
March 16, 2017
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017