For about the last two months, the lovely little pregnancy symptom of leg cramps hit me, and hit me hard. Every morning, I was waking up with aching leg muscles, stiff knees and ankles. And about every 2-3 nights, I was awakened by agonizing cramps in my calf muscles; the muscle would cramp up so immediately and badly that it would be rock hard and feel twisted inside my leg. I hate these cramps. They wake me up in a screaming, teeth clenching fit of blinding pain. When they occur, the rest of my leg muscles in both legs feel extremely ached and fatigued, as if I just walked a 10-story flight of stairs as fast as I could go. So the really bad calf cramps are momentarily paralyzing from the lower back down to my feet.
And obviously, with the sudden rocoiling reaction I get with those cramps, along with the agonizing wail, Brandon would wake up. He's my life-saver, but I do feel badly whenever I wake him from a deep sleep like that, because I know it startles him. But he always immediately tends to the cramped leg and massages the muscle gently until it relaxes from its rock hard state and the pain subsides to a bearable point for me. However, it's always difficult to walk for the next 24 hours because that feeling of running a 10-story flight of stairs doesn't go away.
Another issue I've been having since about the 20th week of pregnancy has been the consistent Braxton Hicks contractions. I would bring this up to my OB at every visit for the last four visits, and I've been checked for dilation and effacement each time, and thankfully, my little guy is staying put with no issues. However, my BH contractions often are in the "concerning level," generally being more than six an hour most days and generally less than 10 minutes apart. Oftentimes, they are not just uncomfortable...they friggin' hurt! Not to mention, they're just plain annoying as well.
Another problem, and this being one I also had with my last pregnancy: heart racing and palpitations occuring with absolutely no extra physical exertion. With my last pregnancy, I contributed the problem to anxiety being the culprit. I had leg cramps, too, but thought nothing about that because they weren't as frequent. I also didn't have the consistent BH contractions with my last pregnancy like I have with this one.
Anyway, my poor husband must've reached his breaking point with the stress of waking up startled and finding me writhing in agony every other night. He mentioned that I probably need some extra potassium, which he'd heard from a co-worker who mentioned to him that that *could* be my problem when Brandon told him (I'm sure it was more like concerned venting) about my cramps depriving him of his sleep, lol. I agreed, but wasn't sure, and really didn't pay much attention to his concern.
Then I came home one night last week, and on the kitchen table I found a brand new bottle of potassium supplements that he'd picked up earlier that day. I will admit that I secretly thought this was ridiculous and I didn't want to take them because I already had my pre-natal vitamins I took each day, and figured those had potassium in them. So I got my bottle of pre-natals and checked the label.
I was astonished to find that my pre-natals have NO potassium! What the heck kind of pre-natals don't have a critical supplement like potassium?! Really...that mineral is basically the main source needed for having healthy muscle function and proper blood flow to the muscles. Maybe it's just my pre-natals, and if it wasn't for having a brand new bottle of them, I'd switch brands. My pre-natals also have no magnesium in them, which I know to be another critical nutrient that would probably be beneficial.
Anyway, I've been taking the potassium supplement for a week now, which is labelled on the bottle as 3% daily value (I forgot how many miligrams worth). After three days of taking it, I have noticed that I have not had a calf cramp in a week, and my leg muscles, knee and ankle joints haven't been anywhere near as sore and stiff when I wake up in the mornings as they used to be a week ago. My heart palpitations are almost non-existent. And, the biggest relief of all that I've noticed is that in the past three days, my BH contractions have subsided to four or less an hour, and extend to being more than 15 minutes apart. The only time they pick up in frequency is when I exert myself too much, like walking fast, for example.
Mainly in the last two days, I have felt so much more relaxed, muscularly speaking, and haven't felt as fatigued. AND...I actually slept like a rock last night!!! I woke up this morning feeling wonderful in every way--something I haven't felt for practically two months now (even Trevor didn't tell me I was being grumpy this morning!).
All this is *possibly* due to getting an extra 3% of my daily value of potassium? If so, I just find that amazing! If this keeps up...I'm a believer, lol!