Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leg Cramps in Pregnancy

It's not very often I experience something so painful it's actually worth blogging about. But if you've ever had a Charley Horse Cramp, you know exactly what I'm talking about. For those of you not fortunate enough to have already experienced the "joys" of pregnancy (no, I'm honestly not complaining, I'm just not one who has found pregnancy to be a particularly joyful experience and I'm just being authentic about that), let me tell you, they happen a LOT!

Now granted, this is also coming from a woman who has yet to actually experience the pain of labor and delivery, but up to this point, I think a Charley Horse is easily the most painful thing I have ever experienced in my life. Anything that wakes you up to the point that you're crying out in VERY unexpected pain, sometimes to the point of tears, pretty well takes the cake in my book. I think, before the fact, that the one thing that would make a bad leg cramp trump labor/delivery pain is that at least with delivery you KNOW it's coming. You're awake, and aware, and you can feel the pain coming on. You may not realize just how bad it's going to be, but at least it doesn't completely blindside you in your sleep.

Over the past 2 months or so, waking up with a mild cramp in my calf has become a daily commonplace. They're not so bad I can't handle it. They don't feel great, but they're not the worst thing either. I stretch my leg out, flex my foot, and it's gone. And I go back to sleep. Twice in the past 3-4 days, however, I've been rudely awakened by a cramp SO bad that I can't keep it to myself. This morning, I was nearly in tears. That makes the fourth time in my life I've experienced a leg cramp to that severity.

Ironically, leg cramps were the topic of the week for me in my Pregnancy Weekly emails (I am now 27 weeks along!) and some tips were helpful and some weren't so much. For example, they recommend sleeping on your side to prevent the cramping. Unfortunately for me, I do always sleep on my side, with a Boppy pregnancy pillow, and my knees bent. In my opinion, the bent knees only add to the risk of cramping. Also, while I already knew that a Charley Horse often comes as the result of a calcium deficiency or imbalance, I finally got confirmation that the problem could also be with potassium (time to eat more yogurt, I guess). Dehydration is also a culprit, and likely my big enemy in this situation. Staying hydrated, drinking enough fluids has always been a difficult thing for me, no matter what tips and tricks I've tried. I keep trying, and some days I'm a lot better than others.

So, to all you pregnant ladies, be warned, but also be comforted. You're not the only one, this too shall pass.... eventually. Now, I'm off to price things for a yard sale I'm already late to. Fun times! Hopefully I can use my fabulous new camera that I got for Mother's Day (!!!!!) and take some fun photos to share.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

I've noticed that I drink more water if it's flavored. Crystal Light has come out with a TON of flavor packets you can put into 16 or 20 ounce bottles. YUM!

The leg cramps haunted me during both of my pregnancies. I woke up yelling so bad during my first pregnancy that my mother thought I was in labor and came running. George had to massage my calves a number of times while I cried during my 2nd pregnancy. I will say, I didn't experience the "joys" of pregnancy with my first, either - I hated being pregnant. My second pregancy was more emotionally enjoyable, but it was also harder on my body.

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