Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The joy of leg cramps

One of the joyful (and I say that with every ounce of sarcasm I can muster) experiences of pregnancy is excruciating leg cramps in the middle of the night. They are now a regular part of my pregnancy experience and they suck!

Last night I woke up screaming to a shooting pain down my leg at 12:15am and another at 2am. It can be a terrifying experience because you are literally jolted out of your sleep into immediate pain. At times, the pain is so bad you wake up in tears.

While they only last about 5 minutes, sometimes the pain is so intense it paralyses you. At times, I’ve tried to get out of bed but I can’t feel anything from my waist down so I have to trust my feet are going to hit the floor and hold my weight. I step out of bed very cautiously, while trying to will my legs out of the contortion the cramps have put them in.

Apparently these cramps can be caused by a variety of things including your legs having to carry increased weight, the growing uterus putting extra strain on the main vein to the leg, and our favourite pregnancy hormone progesterone. It can also be due to a lack of nutrients and salts because the baby is sucking it all out of you.

Whatever the cause, being shocked out of your sleep is not a pleasant experience. Between that and the abdomen pains I get, this whole pregnancy business is starting to feel like one long pain fest. And I haven’t even gone through labour!

My concern is this will only get worse as my weight and uterus continue to expand. Maybe it’s the baby gods preparing me for the sleepless nights I’ll face. Although I think I’d rather wake to the sound of a screaming baby, than a screaming Fiona!

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