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.