Interventions for leg cramps in pregnancy

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD000121. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000121.


Background: Many women experience leg cramps in the second half of pregnancy.

Objectives: The objective of this review was to assess the effects of treatments for leg cramps in pregnancy.

Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group trials register.

Selection criteria: Randomised trials of treatments for leg cramps, persisting for at least two weeks, in pregnancy.

Data collection and analysis: Trial quality was assessed and data were extracted independently by two reviewers.

Main results: Three trials involving 217 women were included. The trials were of moderate quality. Compared with placebo, calcium reduced leg cramps (odds ratio 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.15 to 0.56). However there was significant heterogeneity between these results. One trial comparing sodium chloride with placebo showed a reduction in leg cramps (odds ratio 0.08, 95% confidence interval 0.03 to 0.24). Based on one trial, there appeared to be no difference between calcium and sodium chloride.

Reviewer's conclusions: Both calcium and sodium chloride appear to help reduce leg cramps in pregnancy. However the results of the sodium chloride trial may no longer be relevant because of dietary changes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Muscle Cramp / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*