Pregnancy is a wonderful stage that makes us experience as many changes as emotions, and is that bringing a small growing up of you, is a great effort for your body.
Once the first discomforts are overcome, such as nausea, tiredness and dizziness, belly weight and changes in our body can make us feel heavy and leg pain in pregnancy, but the big question: Why do our legs hurt?
Leg pain in pregnancy is one of the molestares and inconveniences that mothers suffer the most.
During the last months of pregnancy, especially if it is summer, comes a time when it is common to feel discomfort in the legs: heaviness, pain, swelling, cramps, among other sensations that increases as our belly grows.
Leg pain during pregnancy is almost always related to poor circulation, a very common problem during pregnancy that can affect the health of our extremities.
So that you can reduce the effect caused by the weight of the tummy on your legs and identify the origin of the pain, we explain the main problems that afflict the legs and everything you can do to alleviate them.
Why do my legs hurt during pregnancy?
One of the parts of the body that suffers the most due to the changes that pregnancy causes in our legs, but why do our legs hurt?
As the pregnancy progresses and the baby grows, it begins to exert a lot of pressure on the blood vessels that go to the legs, which in turn, compress considerably the vein (inferior vena cava) that is responsible for sending blood flow to all the lower limbs of our body.
On the other hand, it is important to note that during pregnancy, blood volume and hormonal concentration in our body increase 100 times more than normal, to support the development of the baby.
This hormonal increase not only causes mood swings, but also causes venous disorders that dilate our veins and hinder the natural flow of blood from the legs to the heart.
During pregnancy, 10-20% of women suffer from venous insufficiency.
As a result of all these changes, the blood circulation in our legs does not flow as it should and as the baby grows, the typical discomforts of heavy legs begin to appear: swelling, tingling, pain, tiredness, cramps, varicose veins, among other discomforts.
During pregnancy, the legs often suffer from poor blood circulation.
What are the most frequent discomforts caused by leg pain during pregnancy?
One of the most common discomforts suffered by pregnant women is leg pain during pregnancy, but it always appears at the end of the afternoon. Most of us do not know for sure why it happens, or what is the real reason for the onset of this pain: heaviness, tiredness, cramps are some of the disorders that can affect our limbs and cause leg pain in pregnancy.
Let’s look at how they affect our legs and what we can do to avoid leg aches.
The sensation of tired legs is the most common discomfort that can cause us some leg pain in pregnancy.
Poor blood circulation, the pressure exerted by the baby and weight gain are the main causes of this sensation.
How to relieve tired legs?
The best way to relieve the feeling of tired legs is to keep your legs high so that circulation flows. Whenever you are lying down, place them high on a wall or use a pair of pillows to elevate them a little.
We also recommend applying some massages or a cold shower on the ankles and calves to tone them.
Cramps are very painful and unexpected muscle spasms that almost always occur when we are lying down at night or upon waking. When you experience a cramp you will feel intense pain in the muscle at calf level, and you will notice how it hardens as the tingling sensation passes.
They are more frequent during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and are usually associated with the overload and strain to which muscles and bones are subjected, but can also be a sign of a deficit of calcium and potassium in the diet.
What to do to relieve cramps?
Nothing is more uncomfortable and painful than feeling a leg cramp at night, but fortunately there are ways to cope better. When you hardly feel pain, try to change position and do your best to bend your leg back so that the heel touches the buttock.
Once you get it, apply a little dry heat to the area with the help of a hair dryer or ask your partner to massage you. And so that in the future you can prevent them, increases the intake of cambures and strawberries, as they are rich in potassium.
4. Swelling or fluid retention
Other great discomfort that can cause leg pain in pregnancy is the mild swelling experienced in the hands, legs and ankles during the last months of pregnancy.
Swelling in the legs almost always appears at the end of the day and is due to fluid retention that builds up in the lower extremities due to the pressure the baby puts on the blood vessels.
Remember that a large part of the weight we gain at the end of pregnancy is nothing more than liquid.
How to relieve swollen legs?
To reduce swelling in the legs you can also resort to the technique of elevating the legs high, as it is the most practical way to improve circulation and relieve the sensation.
However, it is also essential that you walk, drink plenty of water, consume little salt and take cold water baths so that you not only relieve it, but prevent them.
One of the most common consequences of venous insufficiency during pregnancy is the onset of varicose veins, in fact it is estimated that 6 out of 10 pregnant women suffer from it.
The hormonal changes that occur in our body, the dilation of the veins, the pressure of the baby on the lower veins and increased blood flow causes that inevitably many women suffer from leg pain in pregnancy because of varicose veins.
When you have varicose veins, your legs are heavy, swollen, and painful, especially if they get worse and swollen.
Poor circulation during pregnancy can also cause varicose veins, although these tend to disappear after giving birth.
What to do to avoid the pain of varicose veins?
To avoid the pain and discomfort caused by varicose veins, we recommend walking every day at least 30 minutes to avoid sitting too long. It improves circulation by keeping legs elevated and avoids wearing tight garments that compress circulation.
Fortunately, varicose veins usually disappear as soon as you have your baby, so it’s just a matter of taking care of yourself to cope.
How to relieve leg pain in pregnancy?
Fortunately for us, there are ways to alleviate those discomforts that have to do with leg pain in pregnancy.
Let’s see what indispensable advice you should follow to alleviate leg pain.
Engage in any physical activity
There is nothing more beneficial for the health of a pregnant woman than practicing an exercise routine, and that is that doing any activity that involves moving like walking, going up and down stairs, cycling or disciplines such as yoga, pilates and swimming can help us stay in shape, to easily recover our figure after childbirth and of course, to combat discomfort and pain in the legs during pregnancy.
Therefore, it is essential that we dedicate a few minutes a day to practice some activity that favors our circulation.
During pregnancy it is important to activate the circulation
Instead of crossing them, keep your legs elevated.
When we are seated, it is almost inevitable not to cross our legs, but no matter how comfortable or feminine, the habit of crossing our legs can become our worst enemy when it comes to blood circulation.
So avoid staying with your legs crossed for a long time and try to keep your legs elevated so that blood circulation can flow easily.
You can also use pillows, cushions, chairs or any other support that helps you keep them elevated either on the sofa or in your bed. Something as simple as this can activate your circulation and considerably decrease leg pain in pregnancy.
Keeping your legs elevated can activate circulation and decrease pain in your legs.
Change your posture from time to time
In order to avoid pain and discomfort in our legs, we need to pay special attention to our posture. Whenever you are standing or sitting, avoid staying in position for a long time, as this will cause your legs to become numb and the flow of circulation to stagnate even further.
If you change your posture from time to time, you will avoid discomfort and pain in your legs.
Maintain your ideal weight
Pregnancy means a great increase in weight to accommodate the baby, but even when it is necessary to gain weight, it is important to try to maintain our ideal weight and not gain more than recommended by our doctor.
With an excess of weight, we will overload the weight that our legs must support and we will increase even more their discomfort.
Follow a balanced diet
Diet is always important, but when you are pregnant it should be as varied and healthy as possible. The more abundant your fruit and vegetable intake, the better the flow of circulation during pregnancy.
Avoid spicy foods, because they tend to dilate the veins even more.
If you improve your diet, we can assure you that the feeling of fatigue will disappear, as well as the feeling of heaviness in your legs.
Pamper and massage your legs
Massages are never too much, and if we experience discomfort in the legs, there is no better ally than them. With just a gentle 5-minute massage every day on your legs, you’ll boost circulation and reduce fluid retention, as well as releasing tension and relaxing your legs.
Try to do it upwards, that is from the ankles to the knees to help the blood flow.
You can use special oils or revitalizing creams to make the relief effect much greater.
7. Performs cold water baths
Cold water not only refreshes, but relieves any feeling of tiredness, pain or heaviness in the legs. Fill the tub with cold water and sit on the edge so you can soak your legs in the cool water.
If you don’t have a bathtub, you can use a stool in the shower and let cold water fall on your legs from the thigh down.
8. Avoid tight clothing
If what we want is to favour our circulation, it is advisable to avoid wearing very tight clothing, especially on the legs and feet.
It is also helpful to avoid being near a heat source because it is the cold that helps to activate blood circulation.
Recommendations: What should you avoid to avoid leg pain?
Although leg pain during pregnancy will disappear when you have your baby, you can take certain precautions to alleviate the discomfort caused by them.
Below we explain what you should avoid when taking care of your legs and relieving pain.
- Avoid sitting or standing or cross-legged for a long time.
- Expose legs to high temperatures, as heat favours venous dilation.
- Wear tight-fitting clothing and tight stockings that compress your legs a lot.
- Excess in the consumption of salt and coffee, since they are substances that favor the retention of liquids.
- Avoid gaining too much weight and eating foods that are too spicy.
Having leg pain in pregnancy is sometimes inevitable, but it is important to activate circulation and pamper them.
Due to physical and hormonal changes, having leg pain during pregnancy is sometimes inevitable, but if you put all these tips into practice you will considerably reduce the discomfort and heaviness in your legs.
If you notice that even if you follow these recommendations, the discomfort in your legs increases, tell your doctor about the possibility of taking phlebotrope or phlebotonics, medications that improve the tone of the veins and relieve the sensation of heaviness.
If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.