Suffering from muscle cramps during pregnancy is very common, especially at night time when you are trying to sleep. It most likely indicates a magnesium deficiency.
Almost half of the population is magnesium-deficient. Magnesium deficiency is especially common in pregnancy and can predispose women to vascular complications of pregnancy.
Symptoms of magnesium-deficiency are: pregnancy-induced leg cramps, high blood pressure, and nausea. Women who ate magnesium-rich foods and supplemented reported less bouts of morning sickness and lower blood pressure.
You can take magnesium in foods or supplements.
Your best food sources of magnesium
- green leafy vegetables
- pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, chia seeds, cashews
- dark chocolate
- green herbs such as chives, coriander, dill, basil and sage.
I consume some of my magnesium in the morning: my usual breakfast is coconut yoghurt with strawberries/bananas, almonds, chia seeds, almonds, and a little a drizzle of honey 😋
If you take magnesium supplements orally, bear in mind that a common side effect is diarrhoea. So the form of magnesium you take matters.
There are various forms of magnesium:
- magnesium glycerinate: best absorbed form and least likely to cause gastro-intestinal side effects (these are the ones that I take myself)
- magnesium citrate: if you suffer from constipation. Mag365 is a powder which when you add hot water, it creates a liquid (buy on Amazon)
- magnesium sulphate: the type found in epsom salts. You can also absorb a significant amount of magnesium through your skin.
- magnesium chloride: found in topical sprays or in bath flakes (I use these flakes). (these flakes are also good to use if you get blocked ducts after your baby is born!).
Other things to help muscle cramps during pregnancy
Doing 5 minutes of leg stretches before bed time can help keep those muscles as relaxed as possible and minimise night wakings.
A frequent yoga practice will also help keep your muscles and blood circulation on top form. Join my weekly online yoga classes!