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Your Questions Answered By The Mommy Docs

Leg Cramps

What's the secret to leg cramps? Any way to fix them?

Many women suffer from leg cramps during pregnancy, especially at Many women suffer from leg cramps during pregnancy, especially at night. As far as we know, no cause has yet been determined for these painful cramps. Doctors and scientists have been searching for causes, researching theories such as low potassium, magnesium, or calcium levels. None of these ideas have been proven, and most likely the cramping occurs simply from muscle fatigue from carrying around the extra pregnancy weight. These cramps most often occur in your calves, but they can affect your feet and thighs as well. If you get leg cramps, try the following:

• Stretch the affected calf by flexing at the ankle so that your toes are pointed toward your head. Do not point your toes as this may aggravate your cramp.

• Wear support hose, especially compression stocking that are graduated, meaning they are tighter at the foot and looser near the knee.

• Stretch your legs and calves before going to bed.

• Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and evening.

• Massage the affected muscle.

• Apply local heat.

• While holding on to something for support, such as a countertop, squat down to the floor.

Diet Sodas

What do the Mommy Docs think of drinking diet sodas during pregnancy? I've heard really mixed things.

Diet sodas are not dangerous for your developing fetus. While they do not provide any nutritional benefits, the ingredients will not hurt your baby in any way. Diet drinks contain artificial sweeteners. These additives are calorie-free and add sweetness to foods. The most common—aspartame (found in Equaland Nutrasweet), Stevia, and Splenda—are considered safe in pregnancy by the FDA. Saccharin, found in Sweet ‘N Low, is safe for general consumption but its safety in pregnancy has not been confirmed because extensive studies have not been performed. In addition to the artificial sweeteners, many diet sodas contain caffeine. The truth is that caffeine in moderation—that’s less than 200 milligrams per day—is fine. Caffeine in these amounts has not been associated with any birth defects or pregnancy complications. One 12-ounce cup of coffee contains 200 milligrams of caffeine. A can of cola has 35 to 55 milligrams; green tea, 25 milligrams; and a chocolate bar, about 35 milligrams.

--The Mommy Docs

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