Tenderness in the right calf when pregnant

Calf tenderness in the right leg is pain or discomfort in the back of the right leg, between the knee and the ankle. 

What causes it?

Calf tenderness in pregnancy might be the result of swelling due to normal fluid buildup. It may also be associated with sciatica, a condition in which the weight of a growing baby presses down on the sciatic nerve and causes back and leg pain. Calf tenderness is sometimes a symptom of deep vein thrombosis, which happens when a blood clot forms in the veins of a woman’s pelvis or legs. Deep vein thrombosis in pregnancy more commonly happens in the left leg than the right leg.


The best way to prevent calf tenderness is to keep your muscles limber and flexible throughout the day. With your provider’s approval, try to take a small walk every day. Stretch your calf muscles a few times over the course of the day, and whenever you’re sitting down for long periods of time, move your feet in circles and flex your toes. Minimize the amount of time that you spend with your legs crossed, and stay hydrated; the better hydrated you are, the lower your risk of calf cramps or tenderness. If you experience a leg cramp, stretch your leg straight out and flex your toes toward your shin so that your leg looks like you’re standing upright. It might help to walk around while the cramp is happening, or to massage your calf with your hand. 

Call your healthcare provider if you notice that your leg is swollen or red, feels warm, or if the cramp doesn’t go away, as these could be symptoms of a serious condition such as deep vein thrombosis. 

  • Wee-Shian Chan, et al. “Anatomic distribution of deep vein thrombosis in pregnancy.” CMAJ. 182(7):657-660. Web. Apr 2010.
  • “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?” NHLBI. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH, HHS, Oct 28 2011. Web.
  • Myra Wick. “Leg cramps during pregnancy: Preventable?” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Apr 2016. Web.
  • “How can I relieve my pregnancy leg cramps?” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, Apr 2015. Web.

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