Leg Cramps and Pregnancy

April 06, 2021


Leg cramps can be associated with imbalances in electrolytes, causing involuntary muscle contractions that can be anywhere from mild to quite painful.

According to Dr. Rachel Adams, OB/GYN, Mercy Medical Center, the most common theory is that leg cramps may be caused by a buildup of metabolic byproducts in the muscle, like lactic acid.

"It's the same substance that accumulates when we do exercising that also causes cramping," Dr. Adams said. "Typically with leg cramps, they present in the latter half of pregnancy, in the second or third trimester, and they're more frequent at nighttime."

Dr. Adams noted that if the cramps are involuntary muscle contractions, magnesium supplementation has been shown to help, as have certain stretches. Sometimes, simply increasing water intake also helps.

To view Mercy OB/GYN Dr. Rachel Adams’ interview regarding leg cramps and pregnancy, click here.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

Media Contact 
Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations
Office: 410-332-9714
Cell: 410-375-7342
Email: dcollins@mdmercy.com