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Discussion Starter #1
This may be a weird question... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I'm 35 weeks pregnant and having horrific leg cramps every day/night. I'm no stranger to leg cramps even when not pregnant, but these are unbelievable (Saturday morning, I woke up to cramps in both legs -- groin, hamstring, calf, shin, and several other muscles I can't even identify -- I couldn't get out of bed or move without help from dh). I'm taking potassium supplements and drinking more water, which usually solve the problem, but it's not helping. I added a cal/mag supplement to the mix today, and I'm open to other suggestions, but here's my "real" question:<br><br>
When not pregnant, after an especially bad bout of leg cramps, I use Absorbine Jr. on the muscle to help sooth the residual pain. I'm trying to find out if I can use that during pregnancy (it contains menthol, calendula, wormwood, and echinacea) or if there is some other topical remedy that would help. Google isn't helping me much. I really appreciate any insight y'all can provide. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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being low in calcium, magnesium, potassium or anemia can be a cause of leg cramps--<br>
as far as topically I use and have used St John'swort oil- it works for sciatica that I occasionally get and and help to soothe my legs-- hips bottom and across the crotch -- sometimes i felt like a tuning fork or something always a low level vibration ---and the wam a spasm--<br><br>
I would probably go to a chriopractor and the other thing I would think of is a moxa treatment to my hips and lower back.<br><br>
take care
 

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I'm not a birth professional... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"><br><br>
but have given birth twice... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">: I had these terribly w/ #2...eating more bananas and yogurt/cow's milk helped me tremendously. Hth!<br><br>
Sarah
 

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Leg cramps/restless legs are often a result of either a) tissues cramping due to lack of oxygen, b) electrolyte imbalance, or c) combination of these factors.<br><br>
For scenario A--how is your hemoglobin? Do you need to increase your iron? Take a warm bath to increase circulation. Exercise, wearing a belly belt (to lift the baby off the pelvis even a few milimeters, to increase circulation), pelvic rocks, frequent position changes, support hose, massage only if you aren't at risk for blood clots and have no symptoms of them, deep breathing exercises, etc. Are you extremely overweight, or do you snore heavily? You might have sleep apnea, exacerbated by pregnancy, and this will definately decrease your body's oxygen levels, especially at night. You might need a sleep eval if your partner tells you that you snore.<br><br>
For scenario B--all the above suggestions are good. How is your sodium intake? If you eat mainly unprocessed foods, you might be lacking in sodium. Getting enough to drink? Aim for 3 liters of fluid a day, at least half of them water.<br><br>
Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mwherbs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7479681"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">being low in calcium, magnesium, potassium or anemia can be a cause of leg cramps--<br>
as far as topically I use and have used St John'swort oil- it works for sciatica that I occasionally get and and help to soothe my legs-- hips bottom and across the crotch -- sometimes i felt like a tuning fork or something always a low level vibration ---and the wam a spasm--<br><br>
I would probably go to a chriopractor and the other thing I would think of is a moxa treatment to my hips and lower back.<br><br>
take care</div>
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Neat! I didn't know I could use St. John's Wort during pregnancy, and I've never even HEARD of St. John's Wort oil. Definitely something to look for. As far as the others, I'm taking cal/mag & potassium supplements and seeing a chiro weekly. I'd like to find an acupuncturist as well, to hopefully help me get my breech girl turned ... are they the only ones qualified to do moxa?<br><br>
As far as the bananas/grapefruit go, I don't eat much fruit normally, as I react to the sugars, but have definitely had success with a banana or 2. As I'm dealing with GD this go-round, it's a no-go. Makes my bG too wonky. I *have* been eating less dairy than normal (for me) the last week or 2 ... that I can remedy!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lorijds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7480151"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Leg cramps/restless legs are often a result of either a) tissues cramping due to lack of oxygen, b) electrolyte imbalance, or c) combination of these factors.<br><br>
For scenario A--how is your hemoglobin? Do you need to increase your iron? Take a warm bath to increase circulation. Exercise, wearing a belly belt (to lift the baby off the pelvis even a few milimeters, to increase circulation), pelvic rocks, frequent position changes, support hose, massage only if you aren't at risk for blood clots and have no symptoms of them, deep breathing exercises, etc. Are you extremely overweight, or do you snore heavily? You might have sleep apnea, exacerbated by pregnancy, and this will definately decrease your body's oxygen levels, especially at night. You might need a sleep eval if your partner tells you that you snore.<br><br>
For scenario B--all the above suggestions are good. How is your sodium intake? If you eat mainly unprocessed foods, you might be lacking in sodium. Getting enough to drink? Aim for 3 liters of fluid a day, at least half of them water.<br><br>
Hope this helps!</div>
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Hmm. I have no idea how my hemoglobin is. I eat a good bit of protein & leafy greens, so I'm assuming that I'm getting enough iron. I am extremely overweight, and do snore (worse in pregnancy). I was told by my mw/ob during my 1st that nothing could be done during the pregnancy, and I never pursued a sleep study after she was born. I haven't even brought it up this time, since I assumed the answer would be the same. I'm not sure what could be done at this point in the pregnancy, but I'm sure my dh would be extremely happy if I got a sleep study done. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:<br><br>
I do eat mostly unprocessed foods, but salt things to taste. If you ask my dh, though, my salt-to-taste receptors are defective! I could probably stand to add some sodium to my diet. I know that I'm not getting enough fluid ... doing my best to remedy that.<br><br><br><br>
I appreciate all the suggestions/recommendations from everybody on stopping the leg cramps .... I'm already working to incorporate most of them. But do any of you have info on the topical muscle pain stuff (aside from the st. johns wort oil)? At this point, the residual pain from after the cramps is as bad or worse than the cramps themselves. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> I know from experience that things like Absorbine Jr. and Ben-Gay will help the pain ... I just don't want to do anything that might hurt the baby.
 

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You could get a sleep study done while pregnant, they would probably want to repeat it every 20 pounds or so that you gained if they fitted you with any sort of equipment or appliances (oral airways, CPAP machine, that sort of thing)--so you can decide whether you want one during pregnancy or want to wait until after the babe arrives.<br><br>
Honestly, I think that most topicals are not going to cause any harm to the baby. Anything that increases bloodflow to the legs is going to help with cramps. I dont' see any harm in anything that would contain capsacian (sp?) for example--do any of you midwives agree?<br><br>
Also, this is sort of topical--the brand Batherapy bath salts (I get ours at Walgreens). Get the green or lavendar jar--the first or second ingredient is Magnesium salts-it is a smooth muscle relaxer. So soaking in a warm bath would increase the circulation in your legs, and adding the bath salts would help relax tense muscles.<br><br>
I would also like to make clear--sometimes you are limited in what you can do. Regardless of your weight, your iron levels, any electrolyte imbalance--circulation, especially in your extremities, is at least in part controlled by genetics. Some people have great, strong yet elastic vessels with strong, lovely valves--some don't. It depends on your genes. Sure, diet and exercise certainly help. But to some degree you are working with what you are given, too. I just didn't want to lay a bunch of, oh, if you exercised every day and ate well and weren't overweight, then you wouldn't have this problem, so it's all your fault sort of burden on you. Some of the worst leg cramps I've ever seen were in my best friend, miss ueber healthy, 5'9", 120 pounds at 6 months pregnant. *A lot* of this is genetic, and all of my (and everyone else's) suggestions are aimed at helping you improve the circulatory system you've been given by your parents.<br><br>
Pregnancy puts a huge burden on your circulatory system, of course. To some degree, what problems you see in pregnancy are problems you can expect to see later in life. If you have problems with leg cramps now, you probably will again when you are in your 50s and 60s. So figuring out how to deal with them (or even avoid them) now will help you then.<br><br>
I can't recommend a sleep study enough; if not now, then when you are postpartum.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lorijds</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7481387"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It depends on your genes. Sure, diet and exercise certainly help. But to some degree you are working with what you are given, too. I just didn't want to lay a bunch of, oh, if you exercised every day and ate well and weren't overweight, then you wouldn't have this problem, so it's all your fault sort of burden on you. Some of the worst leg cramps I've ever seen were in my best friend, miss ueber healthy, 5'9", 120 pounds at 6 months pregnant. *A lot* of this is genetic, and all of my (and everyone else's) suggestions are aimed at helping you improve the circulatory system you've been given by your parents.</div>
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LOL .... I appreciate the disclaimer. A lot of what I'm dealing with is DEFINITELY genetic. My dad, brother & sister all have terrible problems with leg cramps. My dad, especially ... he sometimes gets out of bed at night and puts his hands on the ceiling to push down. It's the only way he can get enough leverage to make the muscles release. He & my sister swear by drinking pickle juice, straight from the jar, but pregnant or not I can't tolerate that! NASTY!<br><br>
Bath salts sound lovely. My wonderful dh has run a warm bath for me a couple of times to help with hip pain .... a little epsom salts in the water might just be the ticket.<br><br>
I'll definitely look into setting up a sleep study. It's LONG overdue. I've only gained a total of about 10 lbs. this pregnancy and don't expect to hit a 20 lb. weight gain for the whole 40+ weeks, so that wouldn't be an issue as far as appliance fitting goes. I just think that this close to the end of the pregnancy, I might as well wait and get it done pp.
 

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if bananas work for you there are other foods that have potassium -like 1/2 cup cooked beet greens(they have more potassium than a potato or a banana)and only 19 calories,squash, fish, spinach, broccoli, lentils, other beans -- a tablespoon of black strap molasses has about 500 mg of potassium and is only 47 calories... Linus Pauling institute has an AI amount of 4700 mg /day<br>
also says that it is a coenzyme component in carbohydrate metabolism - it works with magnesium..<br><br><a href="http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/potassium/" target="_blank">http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocente...als/potassium/</a>
 

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I'm not a birth professional and I don't know how cold it is where you live, but I've felt much better once I got the heavy blankets off my bed! Make sure that the blankets are not turning your toes down ward at all during sleep. My solution to keeping warm and keeping blankets to a minimum was having an electric blanket. Just make sure you don't overheat...(hard to do when it's 20 below zero!) Just another suggestion....
 

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I just asked my naturapath yesterday and mine seem to be gone already. I too was having horrible cramps in my calves and arch of one foot.<br><br>
Calcium w/citrus. I know that's a weird combo, but it must do something for the absorption is all I can think.<br><br>
I don't usually drink milk, but after 2 cups of lowfat goatmilk (with some citrus after) My legs really felt alot better. And no cramping last night at all!!!!<br><br>
Also, try Arnica gel on your muscles, great for sprains, bruises, muscle stiffness. Seemed to help a little.<br><br>
Good luck,<br>
Jen
 

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are you getting any exercise? it might be related to poor circulation - if you can go for a walk after dinner, and then do some yoga (or at least some leg stretching) and take your legs up the wall (or highly elevated with pillows) it might help. that, along with the dietary stuff that's already been suggested, is what i recommend to my prenatal yoga students when they complain of leg cramps... and what i did for mine while pregnant.
 

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Hi,<br><br>
I'm a massage therapist who works with prenatal clients. By 35 weeks, you are long past the point where topicals are going to create any problems for the baby. The only precaution I can possibly think of iby that stage of pregnancy is that if a client had any indications of pre-term labor, I would not use topicals on her belly.<br><br>
If you are interested in hearing about any bodywork "tricks" for immediate cramp relief, feel free to pm me. An acupunsturist could also provide more general relief with regular treatments.<br><br>
All the advice from pp's sounds great and I wish you speedy relief from your cramps. Not too much further to go, but I know the last few weeks can be the hardest.<br><br>
Megan
 

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Thanks, Megan! I have been able to nip the actual cramps in the bud about 90% of the time by drinking a big glass of water and taking cal/mag & potassium. Even when I end up with a cramp, the supplements have seemed to help a lot with the residual pain.<br><br>
I'm hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon ... surely I won't be pregnant for more than another week to 10 days .... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I'm so tired of telling people that I WAS due last Saturday. Amazingly enough, nobody has asked me why I haven't been induced yet. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:
 
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