Leg pain and cramps are involuntary contractions of abdominal muscles in the lower back of your legs and are most often found at night after you wake up. While these symptoms may seem like a nuisance or even an inconvenience, the truth is that they can be quite painful. Though they are usually temporary, they can become more chronic if left untreated. Nevertheless, it isn't totally clear why they happen, or which factor(s) cause them. It is generally believed that leg pain in pregnancy may be caused because of increased uterus pressure on certain cranial nerves, fatigue, increased blood flow to the legs due to hormonal changes, or reduced blood flow in the lower extremities due to decreased venous return to the heart.
Leg cramps and pain during pregnancy occur more frequently in pregnant women than in others. Studies show that about 33% of pregnant women experience muscle spasms or cramping in the lower back area during their pregnancy. There are also reports that about one-third of pregnant women experience deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis is a condition where blood clots in the veins of the legs. It is considered a more serious condition than muscle spasms or cramps, because it involves the soft tissue of the body - the leg muscles. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately to discuss your concerns about leg pain and cramping.
One of the commonly held beliefs about the cause of leg pain in pregnancy is that it is caused by morning sickness. Morning sickness is characterized by nausea, vomiting, excessive drooling, increased thirst, increased fatigue and increased use of hand-to-mouth breathing. Although there is some truth to this belief, the mechanism involved is complex. Morning sickness does not generally cause leg cramps. In most cases, morning sickness is relieved by simply drinking lots of fluids - eight glasses per day is the recommended. This simple approach can actually prevent the onset of pain.
Another belief regarding the cause of leg cramps is that it can be caused by increased blood flow. Increased blood flow is usually caused by large changes in hormone levels. There are two main mechanisms for hormone changes: sweating and restricted breathing. When people are sweating, they take in more fluid, making their body temperature rise. However, when people are breathing heavily, circulation is constricted, causing a drop in temperature and a subsequent rise in body temperature.
Many doctors believe that they see the pain of leg cramps as a symptom of DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, which is a dangerous blood clot in the leg that can cause irreversible tissue damage. DVT can be caused by a blood clot in the lung, a clot in the heart, or a vein clot in the heart. It can be a sudden, unexpected event or an ongoing problem. It can occur on one leg or both legs.
Many doctors think that they hear about pregnancy from their patients and conclude that leg cramps could be caused by them. A pregnant woman should rest her legs whenever possible. This can be difficult to do in a busy pregnancy. However, if a woman can reduce her exertion to only when needed and continues to rest her legs, she can help her veins to heal and lessen her chances of developing deep vein thrombosis. It's important to do your homework and check with your doctor. Deep vein thrombosis is a very serious condition and should be taken seriously.
Most doctors do not know how to tell if the symptoms of thrombosis are due to pregnancy or something else. A true diagnosis is only made after a blood test is done and it reveals high levels of calcium, protein, and bilirubin in the blood. An ultrasound may also be used to determine the severity of the condition and whether or not the symptoms are due to pregnancy or something else. Some pregnant females experience muscle spasms due to the stress of carrying a child. Leg cramps during pregnancy can also be attributed to this stress.
The symptoms of leg cramps due to pregnancy are often a lot like those of varicose veins. Women who have been pregnant are prone to getting varicose veins, but their risks are much less because they don't always have the hormones that make them produce enough adrenaline to counter the stress. Therefore, they don't always get the surge of strength that their bodies need to cope with the increased pressure. As a result, they develop varicose veins and develop leg pain. Leg cramps can be extremely unpleasant, but if you know you are pregnant and are experiencing them, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the discomfort.