Sometimes the least serious ailments cause the most aggravation. Leg cramps are an example of this. These cramps usually occur in the lower leg, often at night. They can be quite painful and can interrupt your sleep. You may hear that leg cramps are caused by too little potassium or too much phosphorus in the diet, but those are myths. The truth is, doctors don't know what causes them, but it probably has something to do with your circulation slowing down when you're at rest.
The best treatment for leg cramps is to stand barefoot on a cold tile floor and lift your toes up. This stretches the calf and often brings relief. Daily exercise also helps.
Rarely, leg pain is the sign of a blood clot. If your leg pain increases in intensity, and if your leg feels swollen and tender to the touch, call your doctor right away.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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