Did you know that one in five women experience restless leg syndrome during pregnancy? If you’re one of them, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with the constant restless feeling in your legs.
Pregnancy is a time of many changes – both physical and emotional. Finding relief is important for pregnant women who suffer from restless leg syndrome.
This article deep dives into what restless leg syndrome is. It also discusses symptoms, causes and tips for relief.
What is Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless leg syndrome is when you feel an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. Uncomfortable sensations like tingling, itchiness, or pain go with it. Sometimes it happens at night when you’re trying to sleep, which can make it even more frustrating.
The good news is that restless leg syndrome is usually harmless and goes away on its own after the baby is born.
The exact cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown. But it’s linked to certain medical conditions, such as congenital hyperthyroidism. Treatment for restless leg syndrome generally focuses on relieving symptoms. This may involve lifestyle changes. For example, regular exercise and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
In some cases, doctors may also prescribe medications to help relieve symptoms. It’s hard to do normal things like sleep when you have restless leg syndrome. But with treatment, most people can manage the problem and go on doing normal things.
Woman’s Legs | Image from Pexel
What Causes Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy?
Restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is a condition that several factors can cause.
One of the most common causes is an imbalance in the body’s iron levels. Iron is essential for producing haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the muscles. During pregnancy, the body’s demand for iron increases. And an insufficient iron level can lead to restless leg syndrome.
Folic acid is important for developing the nervous system. And a deficiency can cause restless leg syndrome.
These enlarged veins often appear in the legs and can cause pain. It also causes swelling and restless leg syndrome.
Compression of the Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve is a significant nerve that runs from your spine down through the back of each hip. It’s where it meets several other nerves. Its compression can happen when the baby is pressing on the nerve and it can cause pain, tingling, and restless leg syndrome.
Hormonal changes can cause an imbalance of certain minerals in the body. This includes iron and magnesium. This mineral imbalance may result in symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Examples of these are restless legs, tingling, or numbness.
The exact cause of restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is often difficult to determine. But it is important to seek treatment if you are experiencing this condition. Medication, lifestyle changes, or both can treat restless leg syndrome. If you are pregnant and experience restless leg syndrome, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
What are the Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy?
Restless leg syndrome causes uncomfortable feelings in your legs. This happens when you’re sitting or lying down. It usually happens when you’re trying to fall asleep or sit still for long periods. The symptoms include:
- An irresistible urge to move your legs
- An unpleasant tingling, prickling, or burning sensation in your legs
- Aching or cramping in your legs
- Your legs jerking while they’re at rest
Sleepless Woman | Image from Pexels
According to Mayo Clinic, the sensations usually felt are:
And the common accompanying characteristics of restless leg syndrome include:
- Sensations that begin while resting
- Relief with movement
- Worsening of symptoms in the evening
- Nighttime leg twitchin
What are the Risks Associated with Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy?
Restless leg syndrome is a common disorder that usually doesn’t need medical attention. But, it sometimes accompanies other conditions with risks factors such as:
Peripheral Neuropathy is nerve damage that things like alcohol or diabetes can cause.
Iron deficiency can cause or worsen restless leg syndrome. You need to be extra cautious if you have a history of bleeding from the stomach and bowels or if you experience heavy menstrual periods regularly (or repetitively donate blood). In that case, it’s possible that your body needs more iron than usual. It’s to keep up with all those red cells floating around there!
If you’re suffering from kidney failure, your iron levels are likely too low. Iron stores in the blood can decrease when these organs don’t work well. This also includes other changes that occur to body chemistry. Which may cause or worsen restless leg syndrome.
The risk of developing restless leg syndrome is higher after having spinal anaesthesia. Its possible reason is the lesion on your spine. If it’s caused by an injury or damage, it makes you more prone to restless leg syndrome.
People with Parkinson’s disease sometimes experience restless leg syndrome. The medicine they take for their Parkinson’s can also cause this problem.
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How to Relieve Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy?
The main issue for pregnant women with restless leg syndrome is the constant urge to move around. It can sometimes make it difficult. There are some things you can do to find relief from restless leg syndrome during pregnancy:
1. Take a Warm Bath Before Bedtime
The warm water will help you relax before bedtime and relieve restless leg syndrome.
The bath also eases muscle cramps or pain due to oedema that can occur in your lower back region. The increase of fluid volume within the body tissues happens in pregnant women. Because they can gain weight faster than normal people do.
2. Exercise Regularly
Help relieve restless leg syndrome during pregnancy by regular exercise. This will keep your muscles limber. It will also give you a chance for quick stretches before bed. So that they’re ready when sleep comes over. It can help cure restless leg syndrome more than anything else!
3. Stretch Your Legs Before Bedtime
The best way to relieve restless leg syndrome is by stretching your legs before bedtime. Pregnancy puts extra strain on the body. And it’s important not only for comfort but also for safety reasons that you sleep well at night with no painful cramped positions. This also includes twitching movements coming from deep within your inner thighs!
Image Source: iStock
4. Sleep on Your Side
Try sleeping on your side instead of your back or stomach. It’s a more comfortable position while in bed. It’s also easier to get some much-needed restful shut-eye time during those restless nights.
5. Elevate Your Legs While You Sleep
When people sleep, it’s hard for them too because they are dreaming and moving around all over the place. You can make it easier for them by putting a pillow under their legs so that blood flows back into them! It may take some trial/error with different heights until you find what works best but keep trying.
6. Avoid Caffeine and Nicotine
The most common cause of restless leg syndrome is pregnancy hormones. To relieve this, avoid caffeine and nicotine as they may worsen your symptoms.
Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep with Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy
The best way to get a good night’s sleep during pregnancy is by staying comfortable. So wear loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t constrict your movements. If you have trouble sleeping when it’s cold, you might want to use a heating pad at night. It should be with circulation cooling to keep the heat away from your skin.
When to See a Doctor About Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy?
The best time to see a doctor about restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is as soon as you notice it. Or before your symptoms worsen. You should also talk with your doctor if the problem does not disappear after two weeks of treatment. This could mean that there are other issues at hand which need attention first. And deserve priority over restless leg syndrome.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.