Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Many women complain of cramping pain in the legs, more so in the calf muscles, when they are pregnant. The toes may also be affected.
Sometimes this pain occurs all through pregnancy, but it is usually more common in the later 3 months.
The pain may be less during the day when you are busy with your daily chores and thus getting at least some exercise.
But, at night, or during the day when you are lying down, the cramps can be excruciatingly painful.
In most women, the pain may be mild or moderate with some amount of discomfort, but occasionally it may be severe enough for the muscles in your calf to become as hard as a rock or for your toes to curl uncomfortably under your soles.
Calcium helps the muscles of the whole body to contract and relax properly. Deficiency can cause abnormalities in the uptake of calcium by the muscles leading to painful cramps.
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200 ml of whole milk (a standard water glass ) contains about 300 to 350 mg of calcium. Other food that contains calcium are meat and fish, eggs, and vegetables like broccoli and okra (also called ladiesfinger).
Avoid calcium supplements that contain bone meal or dolomite as they may contain dangerous levels of lead.
A word of caution : If your cramps are very severe, or if you notice any localized pain or swelling anywhere in your legs, contact your doctor. In some women, a blood clot can lodge in the veins preventing blood flow and causing severe pain. Do not mistake this pain for cramps. Pain due to a blood clot is constant and very severe, while cramps usually decrease after some time.
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