Saturday, July 21, 2007


I've been having nightly leg cramps for the last three or four months, probably due to the fact that I'm now required to spend roughly seven hours a night sleeping on my side. (For those non-pregnant types, the Cliff's Notes version: there's a vein the runs along your spine that gives oxygen to the baby. When you lay on your back, the weight of your uterus settles on it causing oxygen restriction to the kid. Needless to say, that's a no-no.) Seeing as how I've spent the last 35 years on my back (you know what I mean) my body is resistant to the change. After a few nights of waking up in my normal flat-back position (JESUS GOD I'VE SUFFOCATED THE BABY!) I've had to get creative. Which basically means wedging myself into place with the help of four (count 'em) FOUR strategically placed pillows:

- One under my head
- One smooshed against my back so I can't roll
- One against the back of my legs
- One between my knees to help with my ever-increasing spider veins

I don't know where Matt's going to sleep. Between the pillows and the cats, he's seriously SOL.

Anyway, spending the night locked into a stationary position has lead to some annoying nightly leg cramps. Unfortunately the "experts" aren't exactly sure what causes them. Leading theories:

- Too much calcium
- Too little calcium
- Too much potassium
- Too little potassium

Helpful, that.

Still they've all been relatively mild so no cause for concern. (One time I got a Charlie horse so bad I literally couldn't speak. Matt kept asking me what was wrong and I couldn't say a word - all I could do was pant. The pain was so intense I went primal. Unfortunately I suspect labor will be similar.) But last night I had something a little different. Instead of my usual leg cramps, I got hit with a Charlie horse. In my belly.

Now to be clear, it was mild - and it was high, like on the belly rise under my boobs, not near where I think the kid is. It didn't feel like menstrual cramps or anything; it was clearly a Charlie horse (it's a pretty distinct sensation) but still, any discomfort remotely near Possum gets me concerned. After some gentle stretching (not to mention much spooked, big-eyed staring from the cats) it quickly eased up. But here's the thing: I have no interest in this becoming a new nightly routine. Is this supposed to happen? I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Braxton-Hicks contraction (those aren't supposed to be painful, right?) but it was definitely unusual and I would very much like to avoid it happening again.

To be safe, I'm eating a banana and milk. Which I should probably... not be eating. (Experts-schmexperts...)


Woman with a Hatchet said...

Bananas and milk are still on the OK list as far as I know. : )

One thing I was told the first time around, to avoid the Charlie horse in your legs is to train yourself to only stretch your legs by flexing your feet towards your body. No pointed toes. I can't remember the cause of the CHs in the first place, either, but not stretching the "normal" way (pointed toes) has meant no CHs this time around.

And being forced to sleep on just your left side does suck. However, you don't have to overly worry about waking up from sleeping on your back or your right side. I do and haven't killed the twins yet. I just make sure that I roll back over. Probably if I actually could sleep for 8 hours straight that would be a problem, but since I'm only getting between 2-3 hours at a time, it's not panic-worthy.

Talk to your doctor about your high belly cramping. I've never experienced that and it's definitely not BH contractions. They don't hurt, although when your belly tightens down A LOT, it can make you feel somewhat breathless, but not in a painful way. More of an "Ooof!" way, if that makes any sense. Call them whenever you want - they're used to nervous first time moms and it's better to make them earn their insurance money than to be freaked out.

BTW, you should see my pile of pillows. Hah!

Ali said...

Yeah, I was making fun of the fact that they don't know whether calcium and potassium cause of the cramps. I love that it could be both.

Missy said...

I wonder if your upper belly deal is a ligament thing. I used to get a crampy kind of pain like that on the sides of my belly.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Round ligaments run down the sides of the uterus and go SPROING! every once in awhile to let you know your innards are loosening up so you don't pop like a balloon while pregnant.

Although I may pop anyway. Oof!

Then there's the shooting pains in your hips. Fun!