Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy

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If you feel an unmanageable urge to move your legs to eliminate crawling, tingling, or burning sensations, you most likely have restless legs syndrome (RLS).

You’re not alone. One study of more than 600 pregnant women found that over 16 percent reported symptoms of RLS.

Symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy

Symptoms generally appear when you’re at rest, specifically right prior to you fall asleep or when you’ve been sitting still for extended periods, such as at the films or during a long car trip. Most of the time, you’ll feel the symptoms of RLS in your lower legs, however some women feel it in their feet, thighs, arms, or hands, too.

Moving your limbs brings immediate relief, however the sensations return when you stop moving. Needless to say, this can be extremely uneasy and frustrating, particularly when you’re aiming to sleep. If RLS keeps you from sleeping night after night, you might end up seriously tired out.

restless leg during pregnancy

Thankfully for women who develop RLS during pregnancy, it’s temporary. The symptoms typically peak when you’re 7 or 8 months pregnant and disappear entirely by the time you provide your baby or within a month afterward.

What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome

No single cause has actually been identified, but research is ongoing. In addition to impacting an excellent number of pregnant women, RLS impacts men, children, and women who aren’t pregnant. And it appears to run in households.

For women who already have RLS, it usually becomes worse during pregnancy.

Nobody knows why women who’ve never had RLS establish it during pregnancy, however there are a number of theories. Iron shortage, folate deficiency, hormone modifications (specifically a rise in estrogen), and circulatory changes are all possible culprits.

What You Can Do About Restless Legs Syndrome while Pregnant?

Things to avoid

  • The majority of drugs used to treat restless legs syndrome are not advised during pregnancy.
  • Quinine (found in tonic water) is sometimes used to relieve RLS symptoms, but don’t take it without talking with your healthcare provider first. Its safety during pregnancy hasn’t been developed.
  • Even a percentage of caffeine can make RLS symptoms even worse. If RLS symptoms are bothering you, you may attempt removing caffeine from your diet completely, if you have not currently.
  • Some medications, such as the antihistamines in cold and allergy treatments, make the symptoms worse for some individuals. (So while Benadryl has the tendency to make individuals drowsy, for example, it may actually magnify your RLS symptoms and make it harder for you to sleep.)
  • Depending on bed reading prior to you go to sleep can make things even worse. The longer you lie still, the most likely RLS will take place. Rather, get in bed just when you’re really prepared to go to sleep.

Things that might help

  • Ask your doctor or midwife about attempting supplements such as iron, magnesium, vitamin B12, or folate. Depending on the amounts in your prenatal vitamin, your professional may or might not desire you to take more.
  • Some women discover it helpful to extend their legs, get a massage, use hot or cold packs, take warm baths, or practice relaxation techniques. Possibly your better half will massage or rub your legs until you fall asleep.

Last modified: April 26, 2017

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