Epidemiologic Studies Of Rls During Pregnancy
Pregnancy and Prevalence of RLS
The prevalence of RLS during pregnancy includes pre-existing primary RLS prior to pregnancy and new onset of RLS during pregnancy. In the era before diagnostic criteria were developed, the reported prevalence of RLS during pregnancy ranged from 11.3 19% . After the IRLSSG created the first diagnostic criteria, studies reported prevalence ranged from 2027% . After the revised criteria were published, reported prevalence varied from 2.932% likely indicating an uneven implementation . The prevalence of RLS during pregnancy appears to be approximately 2 to 3 times higher than in non-pregnant women.
What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy
Experts aren’t sure, although genetics are probably a factor. Other possible culprits include hormones, especially estradiol and progesterone, which surge during the third trimester and fall right after birth, following the same pattern as RLS.
Environmental and dietary factors like iron deficiency and/or sensitivity to certain types of foods may also be risks. That growing baby doing the samba in utero and pressing down on the nerves around your sacrum definitely doesnt help matters.
Neither does fatigue or low mood. Lack of sleep, anxiety, depression and stress common during pregnancy can all take a toll and may even trigger RLS. So take care of yourself and try to get plenty of rest.
No Association With Delivery Outcomes
The study, the largest to date that investigates RLS in pregnant women in the U.S. using standard diagnostic criteria, found no evidence of an association between RLS and delivery outcomes, including cesarean section delivery and mean birth weight. Although RLS has the largest effect during the third trimester, it usually subsides after delivery, Dunietz says.
What Can I Do For Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome relief is possible. However, your treatment options will depend on the underlying cause. There are many causes of RLS; however, its important not to rule out vein disease as a possible factor.
If vein disease is determined to be a contributing factor, then minimally invasive vein treatment may help. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 98% of patients who were suffering from RLS saw significant symptom relief after receiving non-surgical vein treatment. A related study shows that endovenous laser ablation leads to an improvement of RLS symptoms.
To alleviate RLS symptoms, lifestyle changes such as eating a well-rounded diet or exercising regularly may be beneficial. However, if your RLS is connected to vein disease, it is important to find a treatment option to alleviate your symptoms.
Can I Prevent Rls
Unfortunately, theres no scientifically proven way to prevent RLS, Grundland says. The good news is that it usually resolves when you deliver your baby. Although, she adds, if you experienced RLS during your pregnancy, theres a slight chance it may resurface later in life.
The only thing you can do if you discover you have RLS is to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Treat yourself. Get the foot rubs, buy the pregnancy pillow, find the worlds most comfortable pyjamasdo what you can to make it more bearable, Patterson recommends. And know that its not forever.
Pattersons daughter is now 17 weeks, and happily its the baby, not her restless legs, whos keeping her up at night.
How Can Women Lower Restless Legs Risk While Pregnant
Getting rest when your limbs feel creepy-crawly can be a challenge, but sleep is essential for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Thankfully, there are some steps that expecting women can take to lower risk and improve symptoms. If simple measures dont improve symptoms, there are some supplements and medications your health care provider can recommend.
What Can I Do About Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy
Though this is one pregnancy symptom you kind of have to wait out if you experience it, there are some ways to get relief:
Get some ZZZs. Even though RLS is notorious for keeping expectant moms up at night, fatigue will make your symptoms worse. On the other hand, you might not want to force yourself to stay in bed during an RLS episode. Instead, get up and slowly walk down the hallway a few times. This gentle movement can help ease the discomfort.
Distract yourself. When your feet starting jumping on their own, grab a crossword puzzle, immerse yourself in your favorite rom com, start knitting…anything to distract yourself from the annoying symptoms of RLS.
Keep a food journal. Note what you’ve eaten before you experience bouts of RLS. Some women find that certain foods such as carbs eaten late in the day can trigger restless legs, and you may be able to figure out what foods make your symptoms improve or worsen.
Get tested. Ask your practitioner about being tested for iron-deficiency anemia, which some experts think is linked to RLS. In the meantime, it never hurts to fill up on iron-rich, heart-healthy foods like spinach, beans, chickpeas and dried fruit.
Heat it up. Sometimes a warm bath or a heating pad or ice pack can bring relief.
Try acupuncture. With your practitioners green light, going under the needle may help for some women, as can yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques.
Foods To Avoid With Restless Leg Syndrome
These foods arent great for any pregnant mama, but they can also worsen RLS symptoms.
- : This stimulant can worsen restless leg syndrome symptoms.
- Refined sugar: Sugar depletes minerals in the body, especially magnesium. Without adequate nutrients, muscles and nerves cant function properly which can contribute to RLS.
If symptoms are severe, strategically consuming calcium can also help. Too much calcium can block iron absorption , so its best to avoid eating calcium and iron rich foods together.
Pregnancy Is A Risk Factor For Restless Legs Syndrome
The American Academy of Neurology is the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscience professionals, with 36,000 members. The AAN is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, concussion, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
Tips On How To Stop Restless Legs Syndrome Naturally
Restless legs syndrome , thought to be a neurological disorder, is exactly what it sounds like. The condition gives sufferers an irresistible urge to move their legs. Sometimes RLS feels like there is something crawling on the legs. It may feel like pulling, throbbing or itching. The disorder can cause deep aches, too. And especially unlucky RLS sufferers may feel these symptoms all over their body.
Because RLS is relieved by moving the affected limbs, it often means sleepless nights, uncomfortable plane rides, and miserable days at the office.
Scientists arent sure what causes RLS. Its believed to be genetic, and is often found in families where the onset of symptoms is before age 40. Research suggests that RLS is related to a dysfunction in the brains basal ganglia that use the neurotransmitter RLS is commonly found in patients with Parkinsons disease, which is another disorder of the basal ganglias dopamine pathways.
Some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, kidney failure, and peripheral neuropathy are associated with RLS. Some medications have also been found to aggravate restless legs syndrome; antipsychotics, anti-nausea drugs, and cold and allergy medications are big offenders.Pregnancy also seems to trigger RLS, particularly in the last trimester.
Exercise & Move Your Legs
While it may not eliminate your RLS altogether, studies show that women who exercise during pregnancy experience much lower levels of pain and discomfort from RLS than those who do not.
Exercising gets blood flowing to your legs, and releases endorphins which can counteract RLS. But, you have to be careful about how you exercise.
If you aggravate your muscles too much, your restless leg syndrome will only worsen. So stick to low impact exercises. For example, just getting a long daily walk is all you need. Some other great options arte aerobics, stretching, yoga, etc.
What Are Common Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome
The most characteristic symptom of RLS is an overwhelming urge to move your legs, especially toward the end of the day or at night when lying down. The symptoms usually affect both sides of the body, can range from mild to debilitating, and may disappear but then resurface later. These sensations can be difficult to define, but have been described as an unusual aching, throbbing, itching, or crawling feeling.
RLS symptoms can impact your ability to sleep at night, which may have negative implications for your overall well-being. Sleep deprivation can affect your physical, cognitive, and emotional health; if you are struggling to get adequate amounts of sleep, it is highly recommended to contact your primary care physician.
Restless Legs Syndrome With Iron Deficiency Or Anaemia In The 3rd Trimester Of Pregnancy
|The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our for details.|
|First Posted : November 22, 2010Last Update Posted : December 5, 2014|
In pregnancy Restless Legs Syndrome is more common than in the general population. During pregnancy iron tablets are the only available safe medication but their efficacy is rather poor. It is the aim of this study to examine the efficacy, practicability and safety of the drug Ferinject® containing the active agent Ferric carboxymaltose for the therapy of Restless Legs Syndrome during pregnancy in the case of iron deficiency or anaemia.
20 women with RLS and iron deficiency and/ or anaemia in the third trimester of pregnancy will receive intravenous Ferric carboxymaltose in one or two single doses. Repeated blood tests, pre-and post-therapy actigraphy as well as repeated answering of questionnaires concerning Restless Legs Syndrome-symptoms and sleep quality will show the effect of iv-Iron supplementation on Restless Legs Syndrome-symptoms during pregnancy.
- Trial with medicinal product
|Restless Leg SyndromeIron Deficiency Anemia||Drug: ferric carboxymaltose|
What Is Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome , also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them. Symptoms commonly occur in the late afternoon or evening hours, and are often most severe at night when a person is resting, such as sitting or lying in bed. They also may occur when someone is inactive and sitting for extended periods . Since symptoms can increase in severity during the night, it could become difficult to fall asleep or return to sleep after waking up. Moving the legs or walking typically relieves the discomfort but the sensations often recur once the movement stops. RLS is classified as a sleep disorder since the symptoms are triggered by resting and attempting to sleep, and as a movement disorder, since people are forced to move their legs in order to relieve symptoms. It is, however, best characterized as a neurological sensory disorder with symptoms that are produced from within the brain itself.
RLS is one of several disorders that can cause exhaustion and daytime sleepiness, which can strongly affect mood, concentration, job and school performance, and personal relationships. Many people with RLS report they are often unable to concentrate, have impaired memory, or fail to accomplish daily tasks. Untreated moderate to severe RLS can lead to about a 20 percent decrease in work productivity and can contribute to depression and anxiety. It also can make traveling difficult.
How To Prevent The Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, there are no ways to prevent the prevalence of the RLS syndrome according to the health care providers. However, what you could do instead to aid or at the most ease out the temporary cramps is follow the steps above to prevent it from getting worse and get the condition reviewed.
Also, the occurrence of the restless legs syndrome RLS tends to go away within four weeks post-delivery. However, there are studies that have also found that in a few pregnant women, that is about on the 97 percentile, the restless legs syndrome during pregnancy RLS fades away in just a few days after giving birth.
How Long Will Restless Legs Syndrome Last
Symptoms of primary or idiopathic RLS typically worsen over time, but, for some people, weeks or months may pass without any symptoms. If the RLS stems from a condition, illness, pregnancy, or medication, it may go away as soon as the trigger has gone.
RLS can pose problems for women during pregnancy.
Women who already have RLS can find that symptoms get worse during pregnancy. However, becoming pregnant can lead to RLS in its own right. Symptoms tend to get worse as the pregnancy progresses and are especially likely in the third trimester.
The cause of the increased incidence of RLS during pregnancy is unknown, but the following factors are believed to be involved:
- low levels of minerals or , such as iron and
- sleep deprivation as a result of changes in the body and discomfort
- changes in the hormones
- increased sensitivity of the senses
This condition has not been widely researched during pregnancy. However, some of the drug treatments used outside of pregnancy, such as rotigotine and gabapentin, have not been assessed for safe use in women who are pregnant.
Behavioral treatments, such as mild exercise and a healthy sleeping pattern, are often recommended as a first-line treatment for women during pregnancy.
If iron levels are low and thought to be the cause of RLS, oral iron supplements are safe to prescribe during pregnancy. In severe cases, higher concentrations may be administered intravenously through a drip.
There are two main types of RLS:
How Is Restless Legs Syndrome Diagnosed
Since there is no specific test for RLS, the condition is diagnosed by a doctors evaluation. The five basic criteria for clinically diagnosing the disorder are:
- A strong and often overwhelming need or urge to move the legs that is often associated with abnormal, unpleasant, or uncomfortable sensations.
- The urge to move the legs starts or get worse during rest or inactivity.
- The urge to move the legs is at least temporarily and partially or totally relieved by movements.
- The urge to move the legs starts or is aggravated in the evening or night.
- The above four features are not due to any other medical or behavioral condition.
Diagnosing RLS in children may be especially difficult, since it may be hard for children to describe what they are experiencing, when and how often the symptoms occur, and how long symptoms last. Pediatric RLS can sometimes be misdiagnosed as “growing pains” or attention deficit disorder.
How Common Is Restless Leg Syndrome
RLS affects approximately 1 in 10 people , but is much more common in pregnant women.
Restless leg syndrome during pregnancy affects nearly one-third of women by their third trimester.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome
- a creepy-crawly sensation, like ants moving up and down the legs
- like fizzy water in the veins.
These sensations are often worse just below the knee and can sometimes be painful.
Your symptoms may be worse when youre resting and may feel better when you move. They may be worse in the evening or at night.
Restless legs syndrome can be very frustrating, but it should not affect your health or pregnancy. However, it can make it more difficult to get a good nights sleep. A lack of sleep wont hurt your baby, but it can make your day-to-day life a bit more difficult. We have some tips that may help you sleep better.
Restless legs syndrome caused by pregnancy usually develops during the third trimester . At this point, is the safest thing to do for your baby because research shows it can reduce the risk of .
Genetics And Lifestyle Factors
- Genetics: About half of those with RLS also have a family member with RLS, so genetics are a likely factor.
- Lower socio-economic status: Those with a lower socio-economic status are more prone to RLS. arent sure why, though it likely has to do with access to nutrient-rich foods that can help prevent restless leg syndrome.
- Obesity and weight gain. Excess weight gain in pregnancy increases the chance of developing restless leg syndrome.
Symptoms Of Restless Legs Syndrome
The main symptom of restless legs syndrome is an overwhelming urge to move your legs.
It can also cause an unpleasant crawling or creeping sensation in the feet, calves and thighs.
The sensation is often worse in the evening or at night. Occasionally, the arms are affected, too.
Restless legs syndrome is also associated with involuntary jerking of the legs and arms, known as periodic limb movements in sleep .
Some people have the symptoms of restless legs syndrome occasionally, while others have them every day.
The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, restless legs syndrome can be very distressing and disrupt a person’s daily activities.
Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the or the is appreciated.
Causes Of Restless Legs Syndrome In Pregnancy
Scientists don’t know exactly what causes the sensations in the legs at night. But some believe it may stem from an imbalance of the chemical dopamine. That chemical normally helps keep muscle movements smooth and even.
Trying to calm your restless legs all night can make you sleepy and irritable during the day.
Having restless legs syndrome can also make you more likely to have a longer labor and to need a C-section.
Symptoms Of Restless Leg Syndrome
RLS may cause strange and unpleasant sensations in your legs. Some people describe it as a pulling, throbbing, irritating, or painful feeling. It also causes a powerful, sometimes uncontrollable, urge to move your legs.
Symptoms occur during long periods of inactivity. For example, you may notice them while youre traveling, sitting in a movie theater, or trying to sleep.
They can also make it almost impossible to get a good nights rest. This can leave you feeling fatigued, adding to the other discomforts of your third trimester of pregnancy.
Advice From A Kopa Mom
One member of the Kopa Birth crew who experienced restless legs syndrome found that for her personally, the best relief was from sitting in a recliner that had vibration. It didnt always work but it seemed that at least sometimes, the stimulation of the vibration was enough to offset the RLS feelings. While not everyone has a chair like this, you can purchase massage pads that go in any chair, starting at around $30 and up. The FDA has cleared a medical device thats a pad that delivers vibration to the back of the legs , but restless legs syndrome that occurs in pregnancy typically goes away after delivery, so you wont likely have a need to pursue special medical equipment.
Our other piece of friend-tested advice is to provide compression in some way. Wrap your legs snugly with a towel or blanket. Use a weighted blanket on your legs. There is a medical device that provides compression to legs, and has shown to be quite effective when worn for an hour before bed . But again, youre looking at symptoms that are expected to resolve soon, so there likely wont be a need to pursue something so specialized.
What Are The Signs Of Rls
RLS typically begins in the second trimester, but it can start at any point in your pregnancy, says Carly Beaulieu, a registered midwife and owner of Lucina Midwives in Edmonton. And it can affect each woman differently. You can get cramps, aches, a twitchy feeling, or just feel like you need to stretch or move your legs, she says. It usually happens when youre lying down at night.
Patterson says the syndrome kicked in as soon as she wanted to relax. Its pretty easy to identify because your legs feel like they want to run a marathon, she says. It was very disruptivesometimes it even started on the car ride home from work.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
PLMD is a similarly related sleep disorder, sometimes called periodic limb movement during sleep . In people with PLMD, the limbs twitch or jerk uncontrollably while sleeping. It is also considered a type of sleeping disorder. The movement may cause the individual to wake up frequently during the night, and this can undermine the quality and length of sleep. It can lead to RLS.
Lifestyle changes and common medications that may help alleviate RLS symptoms include:
- Warm baths and massages: These can relax the muscles and reduce the intensity of symptoms.
- Warm or cool packs: Some people prefer warm, some cold, and others say that alternating hot and cold is helpful.
- Relaxation techniques: Stress can make RLS worse, so exercises such as , meditation, and tai chi may help.
- Exercise using legs more can help alleviate symptoms. If the patient has a sedentary lifestyle, walking instead of driving, taking up a sport, or exercising the legs in a gym can help.
Importance Of Dealing With Leg Twitching
If youre struggling with symptoms, its important to seek treatment. A recent of 1,563 women in their third trimester found that those with RLS were more likely to experience poor sleep quality, poor daytime functioning, and .
have also linked RLS with complications like depression, premature labor, Cesarean section, and difficult delivery.
Treating Restless Legs Syndrome
Mild cases ofrestless legs syndrome that are not linked to an underlying health condition may not require any treatment, other than making a few lifestyle changes.
If your symptomsare more severe, you may need medication to regulate the levels of dopamine and ironin your body.
Ifrestless legs syndrome is caused by iron deficiency anaemia, iron supplements may be all that’s needed to treat the symptoms.
Things To Do For Twitchy Legs Relief When Pregnant
If youre dealing with unpleasant symptoms and are struggling to sleep, you may be desperate for some relief. The season of expecting can be stressful enough without the added worries that come with Restless Leg Syndrome. Its important to manage symptoms and reduce stress so you can focus on health for Mama and baby.
When Can I Expect My Restless Legs Syndrome To End
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.