Pregnancy with twins has brought me a new gift in my sixth month: my two little bundles of joy have presented me with leg cramps—emphasis on ‘bundles,’ aka the hard masses of muscle fibers that like to gather together and let out a primal scream (or was that me?) somewhere around 3am. I leap out of bed (as much as I can with the extra 30 pounds) and attempt to lower my heel to the ground, my toes splayed and straining and my knee trembling, all while trying to keep my gasping down to a minimum so as not to wake me peacefully sleeping husband.
There’s plenty of advice out there on how to minimize these leg cramps, but there’s nothing to be done about the fact that my poor legs are receiving a mere percentage of the blood to which they’re accustomed.
Including more magnesium, potassium and calcium in one’s diet are important. Here are few sources I’ve scouted out; hopefully they’ll help:
Magnesium—almonds, cashews, peanut butter, baked potato, including the skin (incidentally, Kettle chips are high in magnesium and potassium…all I needed was another excuse) lentils, and baked beans
Potassium—raisins, baked potatoes (2 great minerals in one spud!) dried apricots, plain yogurt, oranges, bananas, nectarines and tomato products, salmon and prune juice (if you’re into that; I’ll pass, thank you)
Daily exercise is an almost must, but tough to make happen and usually trumped by the daily nap. Stretching is constant and a little love to my poor starved appendages makes both them and me feel better. I like to give them a massage with coconut butter (found in raw form in the grocery store—just don’t let this jar do double duty as massage oil and a sweetener in your smoothies) including a good thumb-digging session into the meat of my calves. Be careful massaging your feet, though. Don’t dig to hard there, because there are pressure points in the feet that can trigger labor. Just give them a nice, full-handed rub and moisturizing, and carrying on with trying to make those legs look and feel more alive. Lack of sun notwithstanding, my lower legs look like something out of a Tim Burton movie—pale and mottled, complete with emerging spider veins and generally looking like they’re halfway to the grave.
So maybe with a few of these tricks, my legs will feel a little more joy even while my own bundles of joy are growing. And if these tricks don’t work, there’s always the knowledge that all these pregnancy side effects will be gone in another fifteen weeks—then I’ll have two bundles of joy to hold in my arms.