Pregnancy Symptoms & Complaints: Leg Cramps

These sharp, lower-leg cramps crop up during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Find out what causes them and how to feel better.

What causes leg cramps in pregnancy?

If you've ever had a "charley horse," then you're already familiar with the kind of leg pain that many women encounter during pregnancy. No one is entirely sure why these sharp, lower-leg cramps crop up during the second and third trimesters; doctors theorize that it may have to do with the pressure of the uterus on certain nerves, fatigue, or decreased circulation in your legs from the pressure of the baby on blood vessels. In any case, you may be awakened with sudden painful spasms in your calf muscles (they most often occur at night). They aren't fun, but they're not usually cause for concern, either, unless they persist and are severe, in which case you should tell your healthcare provider.

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