Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Natural pregnancy: Natural aids to cramps

Have you ever experienced any cramps during your pregnancy? If you are not pregnant have you ever experienced any cramps? What's your cure for it? ( I am not talking menstrual cramps but cramps that come unexpected and can happen to both men and women).

Three weeks ago I experienced for the very first time some very unexpected pains in my calves muscles as I was getting out of bed. The first painful experience was in my right calf and lasted for over 2 minutes and was excruciating. Not only I was caught off guard because it was my first time experiencing that, but I could still feel the effects of that pain days after.

Two-three days after, I had the same experience, this time in my left calf. I was in so much pain it had me in tears, thankfully my husband was there that morning and massaged my calf while I was still stuck in bed. Due to his athletic experience he suggested that I eat some bananas but not being a huge fan of bananas except in smoothies I grinned and said ' we will see'.

With my husband massaging my left calf while I was still cramping, it allowed the pain to subside faster than the one days ago in my right calf.  Unlike the pain in my right calf that could be felt days after, the one in the left calf muscle was totally gone the first day.

 In the course of the following days since my second and last cramp, I learned some simple natural solutions and preventive measures.
Below are four natural and simple ways to prevent more occurrence of those excruciating cramps.

I have to admit that " I knew better" regarding the first two suggestions. I can easily see my errors and now understand how" I caused those cramps".  I certainly learned my lesson and I can tell you that I will never again take my healthy habits for granted. Hope you can benefit from my experience and my midwife's suggestions.
  • Drink plenty of water, increase your water intake.
Time for a mea culpa on that one. I had fallen in love lately for Sunny D juices and had replaced a huge of amount of my fluid intakes with some bottled juices, something I don't do normally as I prefer fresh squeezed juice to commercial options.

 My daughter even made the comment during the same week I first experienced those mean cramps and said " why you don't drink a lot of water like you used to ? "  Ouch! "From the mouth of babes" right? I should have noticed that it was an hint but never would I have anticipated my decrease in water intake to cause me some cramps! Amazing how our body know better.

Of course I am back on track, back to drinking plenty of water and limiting my commercial juices' intake to no glass or one or two glasses a day!

I am a strong believer in the benefits of stretching but have to admit that in the week prior to experiencing those cramps I was not spending my usual 15-30 minutes stretching at least once a day.  I guess I did not know just how beneficial it is as I advance in my pregnancy. It took the unpleasant surprise to learn that such cramps can be occur and can be more frequent as a woman progresses in her pregnancy!

Since my cramps did occur right upon arising in the morning, my midwife suggested the following:
  • Drinking a cup of milk before bedtime. I suppose it's the calcium that bring our body some relief here. I did not care to ask my midwife for details on why milk works, I was just interested in doing something that will work and spare me the drama.
  • Eating a banana before bedtime. My husband explained that when he used to play varsity in high school eating a bananas was the natural cure to alleviate the pain of cramps he would experience.
I am so glad to report that since I embraced my good habits of drinking more water and stretching diligently everyday I have been cramp free. I enjoy a small cup of milk as a delicious sleep aid especially if it's warmed and flavored with a spoon of honey but I haven't done well with the bananas. I only eat a small portion and save the rest for the next night. Better than nothing right?

Well that's my natural cures to cramps. I learned the hard way but all this could have been prevented if I had diligently practiced what I know best! One big lesson my pregnancy has been teaching me is that I can't take for granted the simple healthy habits that appear insignificant and yet play a bigger role than I can imagine.

Have you experience any cramps during your pregnancy or on any other occasion? What's your solution to cramps?