Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

image001Approximately one third of pregnant women experience restless leg syndrome. This described as a burning sensation in their legs. Others describe restless leg syndrome as a creepy crawling kind of feeling. These feelings make the individual experience an uncontrollable urge to move their legs. Moving the legs can help these feelings go away, but they often wake up the person to the point that it is difficult to go back to sleep. However, there are many things that you can do to relieve this uncomfortable sensation.

Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

The symptoms of restless leg syndrome typically begin to show up at night time right before sleep. The symptoms can also appear when you have been sitting for a long period of time. The symptoms of restless leg syndrome typically begin in the lower legs, but many women report feeling the symptoms in their thighs, feet, arms, and even their hands.

While moving the area that is experiencing the symptoms can make the feelings go away, the sensation often returns when you stop moving. Restless leg syndrome can cause serious discomfort and major frustration. These sensations and urge to move can make it nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep. This can lead to serious fatigue and exhaustion. Know that pregnant women who suffer from this condition are more likely to experience longer labors or even c sections.

How Long Will It Last?

Women who develop restless leg syndrome during pregnancy can rest easy knowing that this problem is not permanent. Many women experience RLS during pregnancy, but the problems only last as long as your pregnancy. The symptoms of restless leg syndrome usually peak around the third trimester, but can still be unbearable in the second trimester. By the time you are holding your bundle of joy in your arms these symptoms will no longer bother you. 

Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

As of yet, there is not a single cause of restless leg syndrome in pregnant women, but there are many studies being conducted. More thorough research is currently being conducted as well. There have been many case studies concerning RLS in pregnant women, but none of the results were conclusive. Restless leg syndrome does not only affect pregnant women. Men, children, and women who are not pregnant often find themselves battling the symptoms of RSL. This condition appears to be genetic, but there is not an evidence as of yet that backs up this claim.

Scientists are baffled as to why these symptoms occur. Many scientists seem to believe that RSL is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Since the hormones of a pregnant woman are already spiked, this explanation seems to make sense. RLS in pregnant women can be caused by a lack of folic acid or enough iron in the mother. Some research states that the rise in estrogen levels in pregnant women are the cause of RLS.

How to Treat Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

1. Exercise Regularly

Be sure that you exercise on a regular basis. This can help maintain your overall health and keep you from experiencing extreme RLS symptoms. Be sure not to exercise to close to bedtime. Give yourself at least four hours of relaxation before trying to go to sleep at night.

2. Keep Your Sleep Schedule

Be sure to maintain a regular sleep pattern. The average adult needs eight hours of sleep per evening. Pregnant women may need more. Be sure to go to sleep at the same time every night. Get up at the same time each morning.

3. Avoid Stimulants

Avoid stimulants like coffee, tea, soda, and other caffeinated beverages. Even just a small amount of caffeine can serious increase the symptoms of RLS. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes as well because they also will increase the symptoms of RLS.

4. Do Not Lie Down for Long

Lying down for long periods of time before you go to sleep will only irritate the symptoms of RLS. Do not get in bed until you are ready to go to sleep.

5. Do Stretches

The following stretches have been said to be beneficial for restless leg syndrome and are safe for pregnant women to do.

  • Calf Stretch. The calf stretch is completed by placing your hands firmly on the wall. Bend your right knee while putting your left foot back. Hold this position for at least twenty seconds.
  • Front Inner Thigh Stretch. This stretch is completed by standing next to the wall and grabbing your left foot behind your back. Hold for a period of at least twenty seconds.
  • Hip Stretch. Place a chair against a wall and stand while facing the front of the chair. Put your left foot on the chair and bend your right knee. Press your pelvis forward as far as comfortably possible and hold for at least twenty seconds.

6. Seek a Doctor’s Advice

There are a few medications available that will help treat the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Talk to your doctor about which medications that you can use while pregnant. Ask your doctor about whether or not you should vitamin supplements are something that would be good for you.

7. More Tips to Deal with Restless Leg Syndrome

  • Compression socks may be helpful in relieving the symptoms of RLS.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs.
  • Try to lose weight in a healthy way.
  • Massage your legs. Watch the following video to learn more about massage tips to relieve restless leg syndrome: