Leg Pain During Pregnancy: Understanding The Condition, Causes and Cures

Leg pain during pregnancy can be, well, a pain. In this post, we take a look at what it is, what causes it and how to treat it.

While morning sickness and acid reflux seem to get all the attention when it comes to pregnancy aches and pains, it’s not uncommon to experience pain in your legs, particularly during the third trimester.

What is leg pain during pregnancy?

Put simply, the condition is characterised as anything from a mild discomfort to a major pain that occurs in one or both of your legs.

What Could Be The Cause?

Without a doubt, one of the most common causes of leg pain is sciatica, a pain that originates in the lower back and travels down through the buttocks into the back of the leg.

As your uterus grows, increased pressure is put onto the sciatic nerve which can trigger anything from tingling and numbness to intense pain.

The leg pain that you experience, especially during the night can also often be attributed to leg cramps which are often experienced in the third trimester.

One last, more severe cause of your leg pain could be either deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or uterine fibroids which is why you should always let your OBGYN know about any leg pain.

Should I go to the doctor with leg pain when pregnant?

Anytime the pain is intense or causes you serious issue then you should certainly think about going to see your doctor.

While uncommon, blood clots in the legs can occur during pregnancy particularly if you’ve recently flown long haul or have been sitting for extended periods of pain.

The NHS have a fantastic article about spotting the signs of DVT but symptoms of DVT include:

  • Pain and swelling in one of your legs
  • Heavy ache around the affected area
  • Red skin at the back of your leg below the knee

How Do I Treat Leg Pain?

The treatment of your leg pain will depend on the actual cause, below, we take a look at treatment options for 3 of the more common causes:

DVT

If the pain in your legs is caused by DVT, chances are you’ll need anticoagulation medication or even hospitalization depending on the severity.

Leg Pain Caused By Cramps

One of the best things you can do to reduce the intensity and frequency of leg cramps is to increase your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium (check with your OB first).

Sciatica

While Sciatica is one of the more difficult conditions to tread, the following might help:

  • Massage
  • Stretching the legs
  • Walking and yoga
  • Tylenol.

If the leg pain during pregnancy is caused by Sciatica and none of the above help to alleviate some of the pain, the final thing to try would be seeing a physical therapist who’ll be able to help.

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