Every pregnant woman I know has that one symptom that she reluctantly discovers will simply not leave her alone. For some, it’s constant back pain. For others, it’s heartburn. Or absolutely endless trips to the bathroom. The list goes on. For me it’s god awful, wake-up-screaming, limp-waddle inducing leg cramps.
I consider myself a decently in shape runner, and I am perfectly average on every spectrum (maybe a bit short). I am healthy and comfortably in my mid-twenties, and while I don’t exactly have time to do daily pre-natal yoga and eat everything organic and homemade, I was hitting my stride with this whole pregnancy thing. So when I woke up for the first time with legs spasming so badly my husband jumped out of the bed and almost called the police, it knocked the wind out of me.
That was three weeks ago, and the feeling that my right leg might just burst hasn’t left me since. I have looked for every solution under the sun, chugging water like a fish, massaging them before bed, eating dried bananas. I despaired that as a busy young professional in an office setting, elevating my legs on a nearby chair was simply not going to cut it. Nothing was working.
Finally, I left Dr. google behind, and confronted my own doctor. Rather than give me a miracle cure-all that would ease my now full-blown fear of sleep, he nodded sympathetically and said it was “perfectly normal.” This is basically the last thing that a suffering, frustrated, exhausted pregnant lady wants to hear. To make things worse, he added “ try not to stand too much, but also don’t sit too much.”
Well that just sent me over the edge. I am a professional. My job involved sitting for hours in front of a computer screen, getting up only to make the occasional forbidden cup of coffee. Laps around the office every few hours were not going to happen. I headed home, fuming, ready to eat an entire can of pickles and cry or else pour over my betrayal by pinterest, whose adorable maternity outfits and cute baby pics, which had lied to me about how pregnancy was going to be trendy beautiful.
That’s when a lightbulb went off in my head. Of course. A friend at the office when I worked had just recently invested in a Varidesk, a sleek contraption which is essentially a desktop, right on top of any work surface, which can be easily moved from sitting to standing. Pulling my pregnant lady card, I began to use his desk regularly.
The sun began shining again. Simply from getting up for ten minutes an hour or so, continuing the vast list things I had to get done without interruption, I was unconsciously stretching my legs, switching my position, and preventing the worst of the dreaded cramps. After the first few days of trying it, I realized I had actually slept through the night. My work, which had admittedly been suffering, picked up again, and I felt the rush of production rather than the fear of being incompetent.
Now, I am working on changing my approach. While my legs are still sore, I have developed a taste for dried bananas, and I am trying to get more walks in at night (and even the occasional yoga class). I am using the Varidesk in the office, and slowly regaining my confidence that having a baby in my belly makes be no less good at my job. Hallelujah.