Some of the most unpleasant side effects of pregnancy can centralise around our legs. Aching, hot and itchy, all three are sensations that you cannot ignore and you probably would not want to either.
So why are my legs bothering me during pregnancy?
The hormones we produce whilst pregnant relax the smooth muscle fibres of your blood vessel walls. This in turn will make your blood circulation slower than usual which leads to leg ache. This can with some women cause hot and itchy legs, and you will most likely find that as your pregnancy progresses the problem will intensify. This is due to your uterus constricting circulation even more as it gains weight.
How can I ease this?
Keep those legs moving! Yes they may ache, but if you spend a lot of time sat down your circulation will only become more sluggish. Take a short walk, flex your ankles and rise up and down on your tiptoes to encourage circulation.
Try not to cross your legs when you sit down. For many of us leg crossing is natural, we don’t even realise we’re doing it. Crossing your legs can also make your circulation sluggish.
When you are laying down, raise your legs so they are slightly elevated by placing a pillow underneath them.
Wear support tights. They may not be very sexy, but they will give your legs the support they need and can also help prevent and assist with varicose veins.
Try a leg cooling cream. Brands such as Burt’s Bees pack their creams with peppermint, which has an instant cooling effect. Alternatively, brands of shower gels such as Original Source also have peppermint filled products, so you can start your day by refreshing your legs in the shower.
Itchy legs can be soothed by adding chamomile lotion to your bath or applying baby oil on a daily basis.
When should I talk to my midwife or doctor?
If your legs begin to swell.
If your legs are persistently and unbearably itchy.
If you experience pain in one leg or the pain intensifies on moving or walking on the leg.
If you have an intense headache or back ache alongside your leg ache.
If your legs develop varicose veins.
More often than not, problematic legs during your pregnancy are just part and parcel of common maternity side effects. Even varicose veins may not be permanent, and will most likely disappear after your pregnancy.