Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another Joy of Pregnancy

I am a terrible sleeper.  Seriously, it's a cross.   I am a light sleeper, and every little noise wakes me up: a kid's cough, Phil's heavy breathing when he's congested, ice cubes being made in the freezer, a loud truck driving by, even the heat turning on in the house. 

 As if I don't have enough reasons to wake up suddenly in the middle of the night, now I am suffering from charlie horses in my calves.  This happened a few times when I was pregnant with John-Paul but I haven't had them since. 

It's terrifying to be suddenly awakened in the middle of the night with a horrible pain in your leg.  I try to grab my foot to stretch out my calf, but my big pregnant belly won't allow me.  So I yell at Phil to wake up and pull my toes back, which I'm sure he appreciates ;)  Then, because of the adrenaline rush, I can't fall back asleep for about an hour.  And my calf is sore for the next week.

Phil told me charlie horses are due to lack of potassium, so I brought a banana to eat today.  Hopefully that will cure it.  Does anyone else suffer from this?  Any tricks to making it stop?

I had my midwife appointment last night, and she told me to take between 500 mg and 1000 mg of Magnesium to prevent the charlie horses.  I took 1000mg last night and no cramps!  There is a potential side effect of "soft stools", and I won't be updating you on whether or not I experience that.  You're welcome :)


  1. I second the bananas, as they are well known for their high potassium levels. Also Avacados, and tomatoes are really good. When I used to get them I'd simply add some tomato to a salad (or a little olive oil and basil, YUM!). And I can always use a good excuse for some guacamole ;-)

    Try a heating pad to your calf to help the soreness afterward - it's an extreme version of a muscle cramp and that often helps.

    Good luck!!!

  2. Oh, my!!! I suffer from leg cramps when preggers too!!!

    Bananas don't help, (at least not for me)I always crave bananas when pregnant.

    What I've found to work is to stand about a foot and 1/2 from the wall, keep you feet flat and lean forward hands on the wall and stretch those calves. I do that every time I get up to go potty, which when pregnant is every 2 hours. If I don't do it, I get the cramps.

    You explained it perfectly as to what happens....my hubby has to get up and rub out the hard cramps and you are right, my legs hurt then for a week!!

  3. Yeah... I get them too. Bananas don't help me, because I eat them a ton now and I still get cramps. So I'm not much help.

    I just had one last night and all I remember is waking up moaning in pain.

    Oh fun.

  4. I have heard about potassium but I have heard likewise about magnesium, a deficiency in which can also cause leg cramps.


    That said, you have my sympathies. This most recent pregnancy gave me the worst leg cramps I've ever had. One was even so bad I physically could not stretch the muscle....not even using my hands. I had to get up and stand on it for a good 15 minutes to get it to stop. It was nuts.

  5. No stinkin' way, Colleen! I have had MAJOR charley horses lately, and I was just complaining to my husband about it. Seriously, it is the worst pain ever, and last week my calf hurt for days afterward. My most recent one was this morning, and just walking around is painful still. I hope the bananas work for you. I'm going to try it, and also try doing more stretching.

  6. Ryan's mom had this problem when she was preganant and i remember her telling me that placing her foot on something COLD made the cramp instantly go away. She used to keep a tile underher bed and then she would step on it whenever she had a charlie horse.

  7. Mom MartinApril 26, 2011


    You need to get your levels of potassium and calcium up. Charlie horses are no joke. I'm sure you are taking supplements, but calcium is not easily absorbed and some things we eat block absorption (sugar and chocolate is notorious for this). You may want to make sure your calcium supplement is one of those that aborbs more easily. And keep up the potassium - it needs to be in balance with the calcium.
    Love, Mom

  8. Yep, I get them too . . . with every pregnancy. And Phil's right, low potassium can trigger them. Find some potassium rich foods, keep well hydrated, and the only thing that helps me when they hit is to get up and move. It's very painful, but I have to physically stand and stretch, flex my foot hard, and then walk it off. Sometimes I have to walk for a long time. It stinks -- hopefully they will be few and far between for you!

  9. i have been getting these also, thanks for the tip on how to stop them b/c they are no fun at all!

  10. I remember getting these at times too and I think eating a daily banana kept them at bay.
    I sympathize you in your sleeping issues....I hope it gets better!!!

  11. The leg cramps!!! They are the worst. I had them so bad with Elena but not with Leo. I eat a banana a day though so I thought for sure they wouldn't be as bad. Once, when Jason and I were dating, we all camped out on the floor and around 5 in the morning, I woke up with a serious dehydration cramp. I started running in circles and screaming in pain while grabbing my leg. I scared Jason to death!! Then, as abruptly as I started, I stopped, crawled into bed, and went back to sleep. After we all woke up, I could tell Jason was peeved but I didn't know why. He was shocked. He told me the story of me running around at 5 and I told him it never happened! I didn't remember a thing!! He didn't believe me though and thought I just did it as a practical joke ;)

  12. Hi Colleen - I suffered from terrible charlie horses in my first pregnancy, and my OB told me the same thing - not enough potassium. So she recommended a banana a day and sunflower seeds. Does the trick! You may even be able to forego the supplement and any nasty side effects! :)

  13. Hi Colleen - I suffered from terrible charlie horses in my first pregnancy, and my OB told me the same thing - not enough potassium. So she recommended a banana a day and sunflower seeds. Does the trick! You may even be able to forego the supplement and any nasty side effects! :)


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