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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Leg Cramps During Pregnancy

Leg cramps keeping you up at night? Here's how to handle leg cramps during pregnancy -- and how to know they're not a sign of something more serious.

What are leg cramps during pregnancy?

Youch! Leg cramps happen when your muscles suddenly tighten -- and they hurt!

What are the signs of leg cramps?

Pain or a “jumpy” sensation in your legs.

Are there any tests for leg cramps during pregnancy?

No, but they could be a sign of another condition -- especially if you get them often, they’re severe or if you also have redness, swelling, warmth or tenderness in your leg -- so your doc might test you for other things.

How common are leg cramps during pregnancy?

You're not alone -- leg cramps (otherwise known as charley horses) are actually quite common during pregnancy. Leg cramps tend to be even more common (and painful!) in the third trimester, because your legs have all that extra weight to carry around late in pregnancy.

How did I get leg cramps?

Leg cramps may signal one of two things: a lack of nutrients or dehydration. When your body doesn't have enough water or sodium, your muscles can contract; this is what you feel as a cramp.

How will my leg cramps affect my baby?

They shouldn’t, but if you’re not getting enough fluids or nutrients, that could negatively affect baby. Dehydration in particular can cause contractions, which can lead to preterm labor.

What’s the best way to treat leg cramps during pregnancy?

Taking acetaminophen might help ease the pain temporarily, but your best bet is to prevent them from happening in the first place. (See next page.)

-- David E. Zepeda, MD, ob-gyn at The Women's Specialists of Houston, affiliated with Texas Children's Hospital Pavilion for Women, and clinical associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine

 

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