I am 17 weeks pregnant and am starting to have painful cramps in my calves at night. I don’t know why, and I was wondering what to do. Can you help? Liza

Hello Liza,

I know that calf cramps can be very painful. About half of pregnant women will have this type of discomfort. There are no risks for you or your baby, so don’t worry.

These cramps are often caused by:

  • Blood circulation issues with water retention in the lower limbs;
  • Accumulation of lactic acid, which is an irritant waste released when a muscle works hard and lacks oxygen;
  • Pointing feet and toes, which provokes involuntary calf contractions;
  • Dehydration;
  • Electrolyte imbalances, including magnesium, potassium and calcium;

Now here are a few things you can do to improve your situation:

  • Take pregnancy multivitamins with necessary minerals;
  • Eat almonds, sesame seeds, hazelnuts and avocados for their minerals;
  • Exercise moderately during the day and less at night;
  • Avoid pointing your toes. If this occurs when you change positions at night, try to raise your toes towards the top of your feet to relax calf contractions;
  • When you lay down, support your stomach with a rolled-up towel or blanket. Place it between the mattress and your stomach to avoid your stomach tugging towards the mattress. This will help for back pain. It also frees up the groin to maximise venous return (even at night) and promote blood  circulation to the lower limbs. This prevents retention and leg swelling.

Liza, I think you should try these suggestions to help your discomfort, and let me know how it goes.

Talk soon,


The Baby Expert