Around the beginning of my third trimester, I started waking up in the middle of the night with painful cramps in my calves. One night they were so painful I let out a string of expletives, my poor husband woke up thinking I was going into labor.
There are a lot of aches and pains that you experience during pregnancy, but one thing that I was completely unprepared for was the painful leg cramps I experienced during my third trimester. And if the leg cramps themselves weren’t bad enough, they would often happen at night. Getting a good night sleep can be hard enough when you’re pregnant and there is nothing more frustrating then waking up to painful leg cramps, and then not being able to fall back asleep! Let me tell you, it makes for one ANGRY pregnant lady the next day.
I started doing some research into what causes leg cramps during pregnancy. Most of the places I looked for information couldn’t give a straight answer. They blamed them on a combination of hormones and weight gain. Not super helpful.
Eventually, I came across a few resources that suggested a deficiency in potassium and magnesium may be to blame. Now, this is something I can work with.
I knew that Bananas were a good source of both potassium and magnesium. After a little bit of digging, I also found that Medjool dates were a sweet little nutritional powerhouse, perfect for pregnancy.
Medjool Dates contain double the amount of potassium in a banana as well as more magnesium. Medjool dates are also a good source of calcium, iron, folate, vitamin B-6, vitamin A, and fiber. Any additional way to squeeze more fiber into your diet as you approach the end of your pregnancy is a plus.
Recent Studies have also shown that the consumption of dates during the last four weeks of pregnancy “had significantly higher mean cervical dilation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers”. The study also found that women who consumed dates showed a “reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favorable delivery outcome”.
I decided to try adding dates to a banana cinnamon smoothie recipe that I had. If you’re not familiar with dates these little guys are incredibly sweet. While the combination of bananas, dates, cinnamon and vanilla almond milk tasted amazing, it was WAY too sweet for me. I swapped out the vanilla almond milk for unsweetened almond milk and that reduced the overall sweetness of the drink.
Since I started drinking this smoothie I can honestly say I have not had a single leg cramp. I first started making this smoothie at around 30 weeks and would drink about two a week. Now that I am at 36 weeks my goal is to make one every morning. Hopefully, the consumption of the dates will make my labor go a little smoother!
Creamy Banana Date Smoothie
The potassium and magnesium in this creamy smoothie can help stop those painful third trimester leg cramps
- 2 Bananas
- 4 Medjool Dates
- 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 handful of Ice Cubes
Combine the bananas, dates, almond milk, and cinnamon in a blender. blend until smooth.
Add ice cubes and blend until the ice is combined into the drink.