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Leg cramps during pregnancy

Leg cramps are painful spasms. They usually happen in your calf muscles or feet and can last up to 10 minutes. They are more likely to happen at night.

Leg cramps are common during pregnancy. Particularly in the second trimester and third trimester.

Causes of leg cramps during pregnancy

There is no specific cause of leg cramps.

They may happen for several reasons.

For example:

  • changes to your blood and circulation
  • tiredness in your leg muscles

Causes of leg cramps

What to do during a leg cramp

It may help to ease a cramp if you:

  • gently pull your toes upwards - you will get a better stretch if your knee is straight
  • rub the muscle hard

After the cramp has stopped, the muscle might feel sore for up to 24 hours.

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or call your maternity hospital if:

  • your leg is red and swollen

Preventing leg cramps

You cannot completely prevent leg cramps in pregnancy. But there are things you can do that might help.


  • stay active

  • drink enough water

  • wear comfortable and supportive shoes

  • eat healthily

  • get enough calcium - talk to your pharmacist if you decide to take a multivitamin that includes calcium

Page last reviewed: 20 September 2023
Next review due: 20 September 2026