We see LOTS of pregnant mummies in our clinic. A common complaint we often hear, and treat is

- calf cramps and/or restless legs -

Typically these happen during your sleep - which if you have had a few calf cramps, you will know how excruciatingly painful they are. Plus the added follow on of very tight calves the next day. Or you may simply have restless legs (where you find you need to move your legs regularly or continuously during the night).

Here’s a few tips just to help reduce either the chances of getting and/or reducing severity of cramping/restless legs.

Simply exercise before going to bed

Here’s a super simply exercise that you can do in under 5 minutes!!! All you need is the floor (or chairs) and a towel.

Sit down on chair with your leg on another chair same height in front of you. Or sit on the floor if you can with your legs extended.

BACK OF CALF STRETCH

Wrap the towel around your foot - make it a comfortable length towel, you don’t want to be straining.  With your hands holding the towel try to resist pointing your toes/foot toward the ground  This doesn’t have to be a hard movement, gentle resistance is fine so long as you can feel the resistance and stop your foot pointing the toes to the ground.  Hold for a couple of deep breaths

Wrap the towel around your foot - make it a comfortable length towel, you don’t want to be straining.

With your hands holding the towel try to resist pointing your toes/foot toward the ground

This doesn’t have to be a hard movement, gentle resistance is fine so long as you can feel the resistance and stop your foot pointing the toes to the ground.

Hold for a couple of deep breaths

Then gently pull your foot into upright, and back towards your body.  You should feel a nice stretch in your calves. Again don’t over strain the stretch, it should be comfortable.  This will mostly stretch your upper calf (Gastrocnemius: the biggest muscle you see just below your knee).  You can stretch your lower calf (Soleus) a little better by doing this exercise with a slight bend in your knee.  Repeat about 3 times each side.

Then gently pull your foot into upright, and back towards your body.

You should feel a nice stretch in your calves. Again don’t over strain the stretch, it should be comfortable.

This will mostly stretch your upper calf (Gastrocnemius: the biggest muscle you see just below your knee).

You can stretch your lower calf (Soleus) a little better by doing this exercise with a slight bend in your knee.

Repeat about 3 times each side.

SIDE OF CALF STRETCH

This exercise is great for releasing the muscles on the outside of your lower leg (your peroneals).

Sitting on the chair with foot resting across your bent leg  Hold your foot as shown

Sitting on the chair with foot resting across your bent leg

Hold your foot as shown

Now slightly, invert/supinate or roll your foot so the base of your foot points slightly toward the ceiling.  Resist your foot returning back to the normal position.  Hold this for a couple of breathes then relax your foot.  Repeat about 3 times.

Now slightly, invert/supinate or roll your foot so the base of your foot points slightly toward the ceiling.

Resist your foot returning back to the normal position.

Hold this for a couple of breathes then relax your foot.

Repeat about 3 times.

Massage

Who doesn’t love a massage!!! Your poor legs and feet have a lot to do to keeping you upright and cope with the postural changes during your pregnancy. A number of women also notice changes to their feet - flattened arches, broader foot, bigger shoe size. Have your partner massage your legs and feet (every night would be great!).

Even better book yourself in for complete relax and recharge treatment with our pregnancy massages. We can apply a soothing leg gel during your treatment to help those tight, aching muscles.


Magnesium

Magnesium is used for so many processes in our body. During your pregnancy your body is using even more. Calf cramps are usually a pretty good indicator your Magnesium stores are low. There are many forms of Magnesium you can buy, and you are best to find out which one is best for your body before taking it.

PLEASE NOTE: We are massage therapists, not naturopaths and can only provide you information, not a prescription to taking Magnesium. Please seek advice from your obstetrician or the great team at Vive Health who stock practitioner dispensed Magnesium and are the best people to ask which one to take and how much.

Iron

Have you had your iron checked? Low iron in pregnancy is linked to restless legs, and calf cramping. Have a chat to your obstetrician at your next check up to see where your iron is at.

Merakai Therapies is dedicated to supporting women on their journey to motherhood. Our aim is to assist you and your body through your pregnancy through not only massage, but also latest with the industry knowledge, take home advice & tips, and using our great referral network so you can have the best possible pregnancy journey.