What is convulsions?
Seizures are an arbitrary contraction of muscles. At the same time, a person feels strong stiffening pain in the region of the shin and foot. In rare cases, other muscles of the legs, arms, and neck can spasmodic. During the cramp, the sock stretches, as if a person, imitating a ballerina, wants to stand on the tips of his fingers. In pregnant women, calf convulsions occur mainly at night (during the period of falling asleep) or in the morning (at the moment of awakening). Usually the most pronounced convulsions are in the middle of pregnancy, when the fetus is actively developing, and its needs are growing.
Causes of seizures in pregnancy
The main reason for the appearance of seizures in pregnant women is recognized as a deficiency in the body of trace elements (primarily potassium, calcium and magnesium) and vitamins (in particular, vitamin B) . If in the first trimester of pregnancy, their shortage results from toxicosis accompanied by vomiting and a decrease in appetite, then in the second and third, as we have already said, because of the increased needs of a growing child.
In addition, smoking contributes to the development of cramps and the use of a large number of drinks containing caffeine, including strong tea.
Reducing blood glucose can also lead to seizures. This is one of the reasons, why pregnant women are recommended a fractional food, during which the level of glucose required by the body is maintained. Frequent repetitive seizures in expectant mothers can occur with severe anemia.
In the last trimester of pregnancy, the causes of calf cramps can be not only a lack of vitamins and trace elements, but also varicose veins. Sore veins of the lower extremities are not able to cope with the increased load, the blood begins to stagnate in them, edema appears. Disturbed blood circulation leads to the fact that muscle nutrition is difficult: nutrients do not fall in the right amount, the metabolic product is not completely eliminated. All this serves as a favorable background for the development of seizures.
"The inferior vena cava syndrome" also contributes to the development of cramps in the muscles of the legs. In this case, being in a supine position, the woman's uterus squeezes the lower vena cava. This leads to a weak venous outflow, and, consequently, to calf convulsions.
Incorrect use of diuretics (to relieve swelling) can trigger a leaching effect of minerals, which also causes muscle cramps.
First aid for cramps during pregnancy
If seizures occur, you should ask strangers for help. In principle, you can do everything yourself. For this it is recommended to pull the muscle in which the spasm developed. Do not panic: breathe calmly and deeply. If a spasm occurs in the gastrocnemius muscle, pull your toes onto yourself. Repeat several times until pain is relieved. You need to do a muscle massage, thereby warming it up and restoring blood circulation. You can pinch the calf muscle or chop a sharp object (without compromising the integrity of the skin, of course). When you feel better, lie down with your legs elevated. This will ensure the outflow of blood and help to avoid repeated seizures.
Keep in mind that convulsions against the background of a lack of substances are not jokes. For example, a deficiency of magnesium affects not only the appearance of seizures, but also pain in the lower back, an increase in the tone of the uterus, and sometimes a miscarriage occurs on this background.
How to treat this condition in pregnant women?
First, not yourself. As soon as possible, contact the doctor who observes you. If necessary, you will be assigned additional laboratory tests and recommend a consultation of specialists (therapist, neurologist, endocrinologist). Usually, the doctor prescribes the use of medications or vitamin complexes designed to fill the deficiency of substances. If nothing serious is determined by the examination, the doctor will give a few tips that facilitate the condition and are preventive measures.
Secondly, you should keep in mind that:
To avoid the occurrence of seizures, pregnant women are not allowed to wear high-heeled shoes: a maximum of 4-5 cm.
If a pregnant woman is forced to stand in a standing position for a long time, when a big load on her legs is created, she is obliged to perform simple exercises that will help to normalize blood circulation in the gastrocnemius muscles. To this end, you can alternately roll the foot from the heel to the toe and back. You can just climb up on your toes several times and put your foot back on the floor.
While you are resting, try to lift your legs. You can do a foot massage, and the movements should be carried out taking into account the direction of venous blood along the vessels of the lower extremities, that is, from the foot to the thigh.
In the case of varicose veins, special anti-varicose pantyhose and stockings should be worn.
Often take a contrast shower.
Baths of room temperature with sea salt will be useful. To do this, dilute three tablespoons of salt in five liters of water.
Try to lead an active lifestyle: walk more often, perform joint exercises for pregnant women, visit the pool.
Also, for the prevention of cramps calf muscles, it is recommended to wear woolen socks for the night.
To prevent the occurrence of seizures or their recurrence, it is recommended to consume more foods that the body needs in this condition. As we have already said, it is mainly potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Potassium is found in any product. The most rich are: dried apricots and apricots, raisins, beets, melons, bananas, beans, potatoes, broccoli, beef liver, milk. Also, potassium can be obtained from a baked or boiled "in the uniform" potatoes. The daily requirement of potassium for an adult is 4-5 grams. The sources of calcium are dairy products, green vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, turnip leaves, cauliflower, asparagus), egg yolks, various legumes, nuts, figs. Calcium preparations should be taken after a uneventful meal.
A pregnant woman needs about 450 mg of magnesium a day. It is found in almost all food products. Especially rich in magnesium whole seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds, all legumes, vegetable greens, carrots, green onions, spinach.
You can quickly fill the deficiency of glucose by using so-called "simple carbohydrates". It's sugar, sweets, cakes.