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Best Ways to Avoid Muscle Cramps

A muscle cramp is simply a contraction of one or multiple muscles in your body.

Cramps in pregnancy happen predominantly in the legs, and especially in the third trimester. Fatigue or the excess weight you are carrying puts pressure on the veins, preventing proper circulation of blood in your body, leading to cramps.

Cramps can also occur when your diet lacks micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin B6.

Not exercising can actually worsen your cramps as a good workout ensures a proper blood circulation. So never skip your workouts.

Other possible reasons for cramps can be:

• Dehydration
• Urinary Tract Infection
• Constipation
• Muscle fatigue
• Hormonal changes

Make sure you are well-hydrated and have a well-balanced diet. Drinking water while working out is a must. It’s important to have foods with good bacteria that can help enhance gut health as that ensures a better absorption of all micronutrients in your diet.

1. Calcium plays a crucial role in skeletal and muscle contractions. Calcium deficiency can lead to cramps.

Food sources of calcium are – sardines, salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and fortified soy products.

2. Magnesium is mainly stored in our muscles as it is used for muscle contraction and relaxation. It plays a crucial role in producing energy, protein synthesis and maintaining electrolyte balance.

Food Sources of magnesium are – Legumes, soybeans, whole grains, sweet corn, dates, figs, and apples.

3. Potassium is an electrolyte that is critical for the nervous system and muscular function. A lack of potassium can lead to muscle cramps.

Food Sources of potassium are – Mango, tomatoes, lemon, bananas, etc.

4. Sodium is essentially needed by the body to maintain normal body fluid balance and your blood pressure. Sodium works along with other micronutrients for muscle contraction. An overdose of sodium can cause edema and hypertension whereas if you don’t have enough of it, it can cause cramps. If you are working out too much or sweating too much don’t forget to include sodium in your post workout drink.

Food sources for sodium are Table salt, rock salt, pickles, etc.

5. Vitamin c is also very vital in your diet. Good food sources are gooseberries, pineapple, kiwi, etc.

These micronutrients are needed in small quantities on a daily basis. Our body holds only as much is needed and flushes out the rest. If you are vegetarian, no worries as a vegetarian diet are well packed with all these nutrients. And if you’re not vegetarian make sure you include all vegetables in your weekly plans.

Apart from eating healthy,

• Make sure you work out regularly and do pre-natal stretches as that ensures a proper blood circulation in your body.
• In case you have extreme cramps, use an ice pack. It will help ease the cramps.
• Soft massage can ease the cramps.
• Warm water baths also help soothe the body

Dr. Sonu Agarwal

Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Panchsheel Park