How To Help Rls During Pregnancy

How Is Rls Triggered Before Pregnancy


In some cases, RLS has been shown to interrupt daily things you do, such as riding care, visiting places, exercises, etc. Remember that this disorder is not something you should underestimate because it can be more problematic as time passes.

The following activities/habits can affect the symptoms of RLS, even worsen them:

  • You are sitting on the chair for an extended period
  • Smoking is found to affect restless legs in the worst manner. So, it can be a good thing for you to stop smoking.
  • Alcohol is one of the main reasons behind the occurrence of RLS.
  • Medication. Physicians repeatedly tell their patients not to use any non-prescribed medication or medication that is not necessary. Also, you should consult your doctor about any drug you may use or have been using . Your physician should prescribe any drugs that you are using for RLS.
  • Materials containing caffeine. Unfortunately, drinking coffee has become one of the main options for a diet. However, drinking too much coffee can cause restless legs triggers.

Rls Before And During Pregnancy

Most pregnant women are eager to rest in order to relieve their pain, vomiting, heavyweight due to a child in their belly, and many other problems. However, it seems that there is a nervous system disorder that can even affect their sleeping time, which is known as restless legs syndrome . This disorder, also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, makes mothers repeatedly move their legs when they feel itchy and burning in their legs, interrupting their resting.

In the following article, the Hipregnancy team will investigate the symptoms and causes of this disorder tell you how you can overcome RLS before and during pregnancy. In addition, we will provide home remedies that can help you.

Restless Legs In Pregnancy

Restless leg syndrome affects about one in five women during pregnancy. RSL is the feeling of needing to move the legs while at rest, and the feeling is relieved by the movement. It is often worse in the last trimester of pregnancy and improves after delivery. For some women it is only a minor discomfort but for other women it can be very disruptive.

Most women will experience RLS for the first time in pregnancy, although women who have had it prior to pregnancy are more likely to have it during pregnancy. The cause of RLS is not clear. Low iron levels is also said to predispose to RLS. It may also be more common in some families.

RLS is one of the most common reason of sleep disturbance during pregnancy . It can affect getting to sleep and also staying asleep. Poor sleep quality may lead daytime sleepiness and poor daytime function, and mood disorders.

RLS usually increases in frequency and severity as pregnancy progresses, peaking about 30-36 weeks gestation. For most women, it will resolve completely or mostly immediately after delivery.

A pregnancy woman with RLS will give a typical story of

  • an urge to move her legs, sometimes with an uncomfortable feeling in the legs
  • the urge is worse with rest
  • it increases at night
  • it is relieved by activity or movement

If these features are described no further tests are required to make the diagnosis, although iron studies may be made to exclude underlying anaemia as a cause.

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What Is Rls And What Are The Symptoms

Let us assure you that you are not alone and unfortunately, this disease is known to affect both men and women. However, it is shown to affect women and especially pregnant women more often .

RLS, a sleeping disorder, creates the urge to move the legs during sleep, reducing the pain resulting from tingling or burning sensations. Note that the severity of this disorder differs from time to time hence, you will need to talk to your physician on how severe it can be.

Tips For When You Wake Up With Restless Legs

Yoga for Restless Leg Syndrome

If you wake up with restless legs, you might like to try the following to alleviate the symptoms, and hopefully, get back to sleep:

  • Massage your legs with magnesium spray or cream
  • Use warm or cold compresses on your leg muscles
  • Have a warm bath
  • Drink some water or herbal teas. Check out our article about helpful varieties of tea during pregnancy.
  • Stretch your legs, and walk around
  • Try distracting yourself with a book or activity

For most women who develop Restless Leg Syndrome during pregnancy, its only temporary.

Unfortunately, it might be one of those things you have to live with, but usually, it peaks in the last month of pregnancy and disappears not long after the birth of your baby.

If RLS is causing you to struggle due to lack of sleep, speak to your care provider.

The TRUTH About Natural Birth

Restless leg syndrome affects about one in five women during pregnancy. RSL is the feeling of needing to move the legs while at rest, and the feeling is relieved by the movement. It is often worse in the last trimester of pregnancy and improves after delivery. For some women it is only a minor discomfort but for other women it can be very disruptive.

Most women will experience RLS for the first time in pregnancy, although women who have had it prior to pregnancy are more likely to have it during pregnancy. The cause of RLS is not clear. Low iron levels is also said to predispose to RLS. It may also be more common in some families.

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Why Does It Get Worse When Youre Pregnant

During pregnancy, RLS can become worse because you are more deficient in folic acid and iron. Other studies suggest that the increase in estrogen pregnant women experience may play a role.

Whatever the case, one thing is for sure – you need to find a way to beat RLS. It not only makes your pregnancy more miserable through lack of sleep and discomfort, it also makes you extremely irritable.

Plus, some studies even show that women who experience restless leg syndrome during pregnancy are likely to have longer labor, and are more likely to need a C-section.

Causes Of And Risk Factors For Restless Legs Syndrome

RLS can be caused by several things, including genetics, low iron levels, pregnancy, and certain medications. Lets look at some of the theories and risk factors below.

One explanation behind RLS is that its caused by an imbalance in the brains chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in the movement, and an imbalance can lead to involuntary movements associated with RLS.

With less dopamine, your brain cannot send the right signals to the muscles, which can cause an urge to move.

Another explanation is that RLS is hereditary. If you have a family member with RLS, you may be more likely to experience it yourself. Some gene variants have been associated with the development of RLS.

Some research suggests that iron deficiency may also play a role in RLS. Iron is essential for producing dopamine, so a lack of iron.) could lead to an imbalance.

There are also a few other factors that can trigger RLS:

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Is Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy Dangerous

RLS doesnt directly put baby in jeopardy, but can indirectly make for a more complicated labor and uncomfortable pregnancy.

If your RLS is caused by nutrient deficiencies, this can lead to issues like anemia, mood disorders, and low energy. And sleeping can be difficult with RLS, which can lead to a whole host of health problems for you and baby. Some studies have found that pregnant women who get less than 8 hours of sleep are at greater risk of having a longer labor and Caesarean section.

When Does Restless Legs Syndrome Start During Pregnancy

How can I relieve restless leg syndrome during pregnancy?

Although you might notice RLS more at night, it can strike any time when you’re lying or sitting down. Most of the time you wont experience it until later in your pregnancy, during the third trimester.

Unfortunately, the usual treatments for leg cramps flexing and stretching may not work, and prescription medications that might relieve the restlessness may be off-limits during pregnancy.

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Does Anxiety Cause Restless Legs

Here are some common restless legs triggers, plus tips to help you overcome them and get some sleep: Stress and anxiety. Rachel Salas, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, says that stress and anxiety are big restless legs triggers.

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.

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Periodic Limb Movements In Sleep

Up to 80% of people with restless legs syndrome also have periodic limb movements in sleep .

If you have PLMS, your leg will jerk or twitch uncontrollably, usually at night while youâre asleep. The movements are brief and repetitive, and usually occur every 10 to 60 seconds.

PLMS can be severe enough to wake up both you and your partner. The involuntary leg movements can also occur when youâre awake and resting.

Rls During Pregnancy: How To Relieve Restless Legs Syndrome

Doc Miller Calf Compression Sleeve

Pregnancy comes with its fair share of annoying symptoms. Morning sickness, insomnia or trouble sleeping, heartburn, and an almost constant urge to use the toilet might already be on your radar. But there is something much more bizarre that you might be dealing with.

The official name is Restless Leg Syndrome , and it involves an uncomfortable feeling of tingling and crawling in your legs and feet. As a result, you might feel the need to keep moving your legs constantly to get rid of the discomfort.

Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, you might be one of the many pregnant people suffering from RLS during pregnancy. Dont worry, though: in this article, we will give you three great tips on how to relieve your restless legs and enjoy a pleasant, healthy pregnancy.

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What Does Restless Legs Syndrome Feel Like

First, lets start with what its like to have restless legs syndrome, whether its during pregnancy or not. If youve never felt it, it may be hard to understand what a sufferer is describing. And if you do experience it, you may find it hard to come up with words to make others understand what it feels like.

People describe the feeling that RLS causes in their legs in various ways: restless, twitchy, tingling, itchy, creeping, crawling, pulling, throbbing, electric. What everyone seems to agree on is that they have an irresistible urge to move their legs. Whether their legs feel physically uncomfortable, or they experience it as just a strong mental urge, they cant feel comfortable unless theyre moving their legs. This urge occurs most often in the evening while relaxing or trying to sleep . Sufferers of RLS may toss and turn, jiggle their legs, change positions frequently, or feel the need to get up and walkmotion seems to be the only thing that makes the urge go away.

How Can I Sleep Better With Rls

There are many ways to relieve RLS symptoms and even get good sleep. Follow these steps to minimize the discomforts associated with RLS:

  • Taking regular breaks during the day to move around and stretch your legs
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking medications prescribed by your doctor to help relieve RLS symptoms
  • Adjusting your bedtime routine to include relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation
  • Creating a comfortable sleeping environment in your bedroom

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Performing Regular Calf Stretches

Stretching the calf muscle may help to prevent or alleviate cramping sensations associated with RLS.

Below are some steps for performing a calf stretch:

  • Stand facing a wall, with one foot in front of the other, and both heels flat against the floor.
  • Lean towards the wall, keeping the back leg straight, and keeping both heels flat against the floor. A person should be able to feel a strong pull down the calf of their back leg.
  • Hold the position for 2030 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise three times on each leg.
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    Medicines For Aiding Sleep

    PRENATAL SAFE STRETCH ROUTINE | pregnancy yoga | Relief for insomnia, restless leg syndrome more

    If restless legs syndrome is badly disrupting your sleep, a short-term course of medicine may be recommended to help you sleep.

    These types of medicines are known as hypnotics, and include zopiclone and zolpidem.

    Hypnotics are usually only recommended for short-term use .

    You may find you still feel sleepy or “hungover” the morning after taking your medicine.

    Page last reviewed: 23 March 2022 Next review due: 23 March 2025

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    Pregnancy Problems: Restless Leg Syndrome

    Restless leg syndrome and pregnancy

    About 26 percent of pregnant women have restless leg syndrome , according to a report published in the Journal of Midwifery and Womens Health .

    RLS can cause unpleasant sensations in your legs and an uncontrollable urge to move them. And it can interfere with your sleep.

    Doctors arent sure why pregnant women are prone to RLS. It may be related to a dopamine imbalance, mineral deficiencies, or hormonal changes. If you develop RLS during pregnancy, your symptoms will likely go away within weeks of delivery.

    In the meantime, home remedies may help you relieve your symptoms and get some quality sleep.

    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.

    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.

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    Light At The End Of The Tunnel

    As weve mentioned several times, restless legs syndrome that starts during pregnancy is expected to resolve after your baby is born. We recognize that its incredibly frustrating to be unable to rest when youre tired, and in the moment, it may be hard to think about more than the present moment. But if youre able, take a breath and remind yourself that there is an end to the discomfort, and italong with your little onewill be here soon.

    Kopa Births online childbirth classes allow you to prepare for a natural childbirth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for a natural hospital birth.


  • Restless legs syndrome : Causes, symptoms, diagnosis. .
  • Restless legs syndrome fact sheet. .
  • Darvishi, N., Daneshkhah, A., Khaledi-Paveh, B., Vaisi-Raygani, A., Mohammadi, M., Salari, N., Darvishi, F., Abdi, A., & Jalali, R. . The prevalence of Restless Legs Syndrome/Willis-ekbom disease in the third trimester of pregnancy: a systematic review. BMC neurology, 20, 132.
  • Srivanitchapoom, P., Pandey, S., & Hallett, M. . Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy: a review. Parkinsonism & related disorders, 20, 716722.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome When Pregnant

    Knee High Compression Stockings with Compression Sock Aid â Reduce ...

    Restless Leg Syndrome is a condition characterized by a tingling in the legs and a constant need to move them. Although RLS can occur in all people, many pregnant women are susceptible to RLS, particularly if they were already affected prior to becoming pregnant, or have a family history of Restless Leg Syndrome.

    What causes Restless Leg Syndrome?

    Nobody knows for certain what causes RLS, but its higher incidence in pregnant women is documented. Because of this, many researchers believe it could be caused by deficiencies in iron or folate, as well as dietary changes. Fluctuating hormones and constrained blood flow to the lower half could also be explanations.


    Drugs that are prescribed to treat RLS in non-pregnant people may not be safe to take while carrying Baby. Instead, try adding more iron or folate to your diet, and take a nice hot bath. Cold packs might also help alleviate the aggravation, as could some good, regular exercise. Restless legs, and leg pain in general during pregnancy, will probably go away soon after delivery, so this is one of those symptoms that you might just have to sit tight, and wait for it to disappear.

    Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
    Read more

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    What Causes Rls In Pregnancy

    There are many unanswered questions for why restless legs syndrome crops up in pregnant women and not others. It may be caused by low iron levels or a vitamin deficiency. Other suggestions for RLS during pregnancy include genetic predisposition, high estrogen levels, compressed nerves, or changes in dopamine levels in the brain.2,3

    Restless Legs Syndrome In Pregnancy Heres What To Do

    Restless legs syndrome in pregnancy can make it hard to get a good nights sleep. The third trimester hits. And while youre pretty keen on catching some Zs, your legs seem to have other ideas. They want to leap up and dance!

    So whats going on here? Do we know what causes restless legs during pregnancy? And what can we do when our legs want to dance to their own tune?

    Lets take a look.

    • What is restless legs syndrome?
    • What causes restless legs syndrome in pregnancy?
    • How is restless legs syndrome diagnosed?
    • How to help restless legs syndrome during pregnancy
    • Does restless legs syndrome stop once youve given birth?

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