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Leg Pain During Early Pregnancy: What does it indicate, and how can you reduce it?

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A woman’s body changes particularly during the initial days of pregnancy. These bodily changes within the system cause the popping up of early pregnancy symptoms before the period due date. 

Early pregnancy symptoms: morning sickness, mild abdominal cramps, sore breasts, fatigue, and frequent urination may be confused with premenstrual signs. But, a missed period date and pregnancy test can confirm pregnancy. Many also experience leg cramps during pregnancy, even early to their upcoming period date.

Through this article, you will know the causes of leg pain during the initial pregnancy days and remedies to alleviate the pain.

Also Read: How to Use Prega News Pregnancy Test Kit, How to Read Test Results – Positive, Negative

Leg Pain During Early Pregnancy

According to Dr. Madhumita Das Mazumdar, a senior gynaecologist in Assam and a woman’s health expert, “Many women complain of cramping pain in the legs, more so in the calf muscles, when they are pregnant. The toes may also be affected.”

This profound pain in the legs can continue throughout the pregnancy term. Though most women have mild to moderate pain, leg aches may go unnoticed during the daytime when engrossed in daily routine. It gets more painful and intense when relaxing, especially at night.

Also Read: Argipreg (L- Arginine) Sachet Uses in Pregnancy, How It Should be Consumed

With slight discomfort and occasional severity, the muscles in the calves turn rock solid, and the toes tend to curl under the soles – A typical symptom that affects nearly 30% of pregnant women, as per the statistics. 

What causes excruciating pain in the legs?

Leg aches are prevalent in pregnant women during the first and second trimesters. But, when you observe this pain during your early pregnancy days, it indicates changes in blood circulation and excess calcium deficiency. 

Calcium Deficiency

The deficiency of calcium is one of the prime reasons for leg pain during pregnancy. During early pregnancy, calcium in the maternal body is for foetal skeletal development. The maternal body will need to adapt to the calcium demand created from maternal bone calcium content. 

But, a decrease in calcium in pregnant mothers more often during the early pregnancy and a calcium deficiency due to irregularities in the uptake of calcium weakens the bones and muscles of the to-be-mothers, causing cramping or pain. 

Other Mineral Deficiencies

Apart from calcium, deficiency of minerals like magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B can stem leg cramps and weak legs. Dehydration can increase muscle contraction and leg cramps. 

Excess weight

The excess weight the to-be-mothers carry, exert more pressure on the legs. The legs will need to work extra due to more body weight leading to more accumulation of lactic acid in the calf muscles, causing pain.

Blood circulation restrictions

The uterus begins to enlarge after the embryo implantation. The enlarging uterus presses nerves or blood vessels reaching the legs causing pains. The strain exerted on the blood vessels can restrict the flow of oxygenated blood to the legs. And also obstruct the blood backflow from the legs. Thus, leading to fluid accumulation around the ankles, swelling, and spasm in the legs.  

Fatigue and low physical activities

Pregnant women often experience fatigue or tiredness even before a pregnancy confirmation test. Fatigue can cause a decrease in physical activities leading to improper blood circulation and pain in the legs. 

Interventions to reduce leg ache

If leg pains are mild to moderate, the following interventions can help alleviate them. 

  • Include a calcium-rich diet: Inadequate calcium during pregnancy can pose pregnancy complications affecting both the mother and the foetus. Calcium-fortified foods such as milk, milk products, meat, soy products, broccoli, okra, eggs can boost calcium levels in the body. 
  • Intake of adequate minerals and salts: Have a balanced diet to get essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron. Get vitamin D through the early rays of the sun and indulge in vitamin C, and vitamin B-rich foods. Talk to your nutritionist or doctor to know more about nutrients and dietary requirements. 
  • Calcium, vitamins, and mineral supplements are a must: Nutrient supplements are an excellent way to fulfil your nutrient requirements. Your doctor can help you prescribe the necessary supplements required for your body.  
  • Hydration is essential: Dehydration often causes muscle rigidity and pains. Keeping yourself hydrated with enough fluid intake can reduce leg pains. 
  • Exercise and walking routine: Regular exercising and walking can help maintain a healthy weight, intensify blood circulation in the lower half of the body, and minimise leg pain.
  • Stretching, massages, and more: Stretching of calf muscles, hot oil leg massages, keeping the leg in an elevated position can also help relieve pain and spasms of the leg. 

Here, mild to moderate pains do subside with regular interventions. Severe and persistent pain can be due to a clot or a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and you will need immediate medical treatment and care. 

Conclusion

Leg spasms or pain during the early pregnancy can be an indication of hormonal changes, expanding uterus, calcium, or magnesium deficiency. Mild pain does gradually fade by taking a few remedial measures. Boost your calcium and mineral intake with a nutrient-rich diet and supplements followed by a moderate workout routine to help you through your pregnancy. 

If you are having long-lasting, intense pain in the legs, consult your doctor at the earliest to avail the best possible treatment.  

Reference

Overview | Healthline

Pooja N Swamy (M.Sc Biomedical Sciences)
Pooja Holds Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Vellore Institute of Technology. She believes in strong research and clear understanding over the subject. Always determined and focussed with a thirst to learn new things. Hardworking, flexible and grounded to align with the goals.

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