Leg cramps: Due to nutritional deficiency?

I am almost five months pregnant with twins. I am having leg cramps in the middle of the night. The pain is so severe that it wakes me up. Are leg cramps due to a nutritional deficiency?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

It can certainly be painful to wake up with a leg muscle tied up in a knot! For non-pregnant people, leg cramps can indicate a nutritional deficiency. Although scientific research is not conclusive, there is some evidence that a calcium deficiency may contribute to leg cramps. This does make sense, however, because calcium is very important for proper muscle functioning.

Leg cramps for pregnant women are probably caused by other factors, as there is no evidence that dietary calcium deficiency results in pregnancy leg or muscle cramps. Instead, they may be caused by decreased circulation in your legs from the pressure of the baby on blood vessels or by pressure on the nerves leading to the legs.

The reason for these cramps is not known for sure, but it does seem that moderate exercise may help prevent them, as will wearing support stockings and sitting with your legs up several times during the day.

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