Treating Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy

By

Paige Greenfield

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Young pregnant woman sleeping in bed

Of all the joys that come with pregnancy, restless legs syndrome (RLS) is not one of them. Approximately 25% of women develop RLS during pregnancy. Researchers aren’t sure why, but low levels of iron and other vitamins that occur during pregnancy may be associated with RLS.

The good news is that it doesn’t last too long. RLS often occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy, and symptoms tend to go away within four weeks of giving birth.

Still, RLS can get in the way of sleep, and moms-to-be need all the shut-eye they can get. To treat RLS during pregnancy, your safest bet is trying drug-free techniques that help reduce stress and relax your muscles. These strategies may help:

  • Take a warm bath before bedtime.

  • Massage your legs.

  • Perform yoga or gentle stretching exercises.

  • Apply a heating pad or ice pack to your legs.

In addition, maintaining a regular sleep pattern, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, may help.


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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Jun 21, 2015

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Medical References

  1. Restless Legs Syndrome: Review. K. Ekbom and J. Ulfberg. Journal of Internal Medicine. November 2009, vol. 266, no. 5, pp. 419-31.
  2. American Academy of Family Physicians. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/brain/disorders/868.printerview.html
  3. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/restless_legs/detail_restless_legs.htm
  4. National Library of Medicine. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000807.htm
  5. Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. http://www.rls.org/Page.aspx?&pid=543&srcid=509#4

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