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General Practice 2023

Câimbra in pregnancy: 6 main causes and what to do

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Câimbra in pregnancy: 6 main causes and what to do
Câimbra in pregnancy: 6 main causes and what to do

Cramping during pregnancy is relatively common and affects almost half of pregnant women, being normally associated with normal changes in pregnancy.

Although it is not a cause for concern, the appearance of cramps should always be reported to the obstetrician, especially if it is very recurrent, as it can also be a sign of decreased dehydration or changes in the values ​​of some minerals, such as calcium and potassium, which can be replaced to relieve discomfort.

Generally, good ways to relieve cramps include: stretching the affected muscle, giving a massage, and applying warm water compresses to the area. To prevent them from appearing too often, in addition to consulting the obstetrician, it is important to exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet, rich in water, fruits, vegetables and seeds.

The following are the most common causes of cramps during pregnancy and what to do in each case:

1. Excessive tiredness

This is the most common reason for the appearance of cramps in pregnancy and it happens because pregnancy is a phase of great changes in the woman's body, which makes the pregnant woman feel more tired than usual. This fatigue can end up putting a lot of pressure on the muscles, especially those in the legs, leading to the appearance of cramps.

What to do: usually simple techniques like stretching the muscles, massaging the affected area and putting on warm compresses are enough to relieve the cramp.

2. Weight gain

The increase in weight is one of the main reasons for the development of leg cramps, especially due to the growth of the baby, which ends up putting pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that pass from the abdomen area to the legs.

This is why muscle cramps often only begin to appear after the third trimester, as this is when the baby is more grown up, putting more pressure on.

What to do: Ideally, women try to gain weight gradually and in a he althy way. In addition, when the belly is already very large, it is also important to rest more during the day. Here are some nutrition tips during pregnancy to avoid gaining excess weight.

3. Circulation problems

During pregnancy it is normal for blood circulation to be slower due to the effect of pregnancy hormones and the increase in blood volume in the body. For this reason, it is normal for blood to accumulate in greater quantities in the legs, creating swelling and facilitating the appearance of cramps.

What to do: a good way to prevent this type of cramps is to rest regularly throughout the day with your legs slightly elevated, above the level of your heart, so that blood circulation is easier.Check out other ways to combat fluid accumulation in pregnancy.

4. Dehydration

Adequate water levels are very important for the functioning of the whole organism, including the baby's development. For this reason, when a woman is not drinking enough water, the body may try to compensate by withdrawing water from the places where it is less important, to protect the pregnancy. One of the places that can be affected are the muscle fibers, which can no longer function properly and cause cramps.

In addition to cramping, other signs that can help identify dehydration include feeling constantly thirsty, decreased urine output, and dark yellow urine.

What to do: During pregnancy it is recommended to drink between 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration. Check out in this video 4 techniques to drink more water during the day:

5. Lack of calcium or magnesium

Calcium and magnesium are two very important minerals for the functioning of muscle fibers and, therefore, when one of them is below ideal values, complications such as cramps may arise.

What to do: you should consult your obstetrician for a blood test to confirm your body's calcium and magnesium levels. If they are altered, the doctor may prescribe the use of a supplement to restore the levels of these minerals.

6. Deep vein thrombosis

This is the most serious but also the rarest cause of cramping during pregnancy. However, pregnant women are at a higher risk of forming clots that can eventually clog one of the vessels in the leg and result in deep vein thrombosis.

However, in addition to cramps, thrombosis is also accompanied by other easy-to-identify signs such as sudden, sharp pain, swelling of the leg, redness and dilatation of the veins.

What to do: whenever there is a suspicion of deep vein thrombosis, it is important to go to the hospital to confirm the diagnosis and initiate the diagnosis. In some cases, thrombosis may resolve itself in a few minutes, relieving symptoms, but in any case, it is always important that the pregnant woman is seen by a doctor. See 5 tips to avoid deep vein thrombosis.

How to prevent cramps from coming back

Some tips that should be followed to prevent new episodes of cramps in pregnancy are:

  • Doing daily stretching, as it helps to give flexibility and correct changes in posture;
  • Practicing light to moderate physical activities, such as walking, for about 30 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days a week, as they improve strength, elasticity and circulation in the muscles
  • Avoid excessive exercise, as intense and strenuous activities can also trigger fatigue and sudden muscle contractions;
  • Drink about 1.5 to 2 liters a day, keeping the body hydrated;
  • Eat a diet rich in calcium, potassium and magnesium, present in foods such as avocado, orange juice, banana, milk, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, almonds, hazelnuts or Brazil nut, for example.

Although these foods are rich in minerals that help prevent cramps, it may be necessary to take supplements rich in these minerals, which should only be taken by pregnant women when indicated by the doctor.

Check out some more tips in the following video:

Is having cramps in pregnancy dangerous?

Although it is very uncomfortable, most of the time, having cramps is not dangerous, it is recommended to follow the tips we mentioned to relieve and prevent these episodes.

However, if they occur frequently, it is advised to report to the obstetrician during prenatal care, so that he can investigate the possible causes, through dosages of electrolytes and vitamins in the blood, and, if necessary, prescribe medication for correction, such as magnesium or vitamin supplements.

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