Discomforts during pregnancy 225
These are strong, painful contractions of a muscle, usually in the
lower leg, especially at night. If you touch the cramped muscle,
it may feel like a hard lump. Leg cramps may be caused by not
having enough calcium in the diet.
What to do:
• Do not point the toes—even when stretching.
• Do stretching exercises regularly (see pages 90 to 95).
• Eat more foods with calcium, such as milk, cheese, yogurt,
sesame seeds, and green leafy vegetables. Also, eat bananas.
• Sleep on your side with something soft like rolled-up cloth or
newspaper between your knees and with your legs slightly bent.
• Do not lie down or sleep under heavy bed covers, and do not
tuck covers tightly around your body.
If your foot or leg cramps:
Soaking your legs in warm water, or putting a cloth soaked in warm water on the
cramping area may also help.
These are tightening or pulling of muscles that make it difficult for a person to
control her movements. They happen most often to people with cerebral palsy or a
spinal cord injury. Women with these injuries can have muscle spasms during labor
(see page 243).
What to do:
• Do not pull or push directly against the tight muscles. This will make them worse.
• Gently hold and support the affected part until the muscle relaxes.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007