The Link Between Pregnancy and Restless Leg Syndrome

Carrying around extra baby weight can make you so tired that you crawl into bed at the end of the night. 

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for a healthy, stress-free pregnancy. Unfortunately, about a third of all pregnant women experience restless leg syndrome, which can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

As if frequent bathroom trips, heartburn, the baby kicking, and a large round stomach didn’t make it difficult enough to get some well-needed rest, restless leg syndrome is just one more challenge as you try to get sufficient sleep. 

At Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center, our vascular experts can help you find relief so you can sleep at night. Here’s what we want you to know about restless leg syndrome and pregnancy. 

What is restless leg syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also called Willis-Ekbom disease, is the uncontrollable urge to move your legs at night. Symptoms include an itchy, twitchy, or burning sensation in your legs that compels you to move them to alleviate the uncomfortable feeling.

Pregnant women aren’t the only people who experience this annoying nighttime disruption. Restless leg syndrome affects about 7-8% of the population. We don’t know for sure what causes restless leg syndrome, but we know it’s associated with the following conditions:

Why is RLS so common in pregnant women?

The scientific community does not have definitive answers for why it’s so prevalent in pregnant women. Still, we suspect that it could be caused by a deficiency of iron or folic acid or rising estrogen levels. 

Unfortunately, in addition to restless leg syndrome making it more challenging to get a good night’s sleep, it may also lead to more prolonged labor and the need for a C-section. 

The good news is that restless leg syndrome usually develops in the third trimester and goes away after you give birth. In fact, one study found that 97% of women with restless leg syndrome did not experience it a few days after giving birth.

Restless leg syndrome treatment options

If restless leg syndrome is disturbing your sleep and leaving you irritable and tired during the day, our vascular specialists at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center can help. Here, we discuss some treatment options for pregnant women.

Since many of the medications commonly used to treat restless leg syndrome are not deemed safe for pregnant women, the first thing you should do is get your iron levels tested. If you have an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements might help resolve your RLS.

If iron deficiency is not the problem or iron supplements don’t work well enough, other treatment options include:

If you’re pregnant and having trouble sleeping at night because of restless leg syndrome, call us at Suffolk Vascular & Vein Center for an appointment with one of our vascular specialists. You can also request an appointment online through this website.

We have three Long Island locations: Riverhead, Port Jefferson Station, and Hauppaugh, New York.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can Sclerotherapy Get Rid of My Spider Veins?

While spider veins are usually not a health problem, they can make you self-conscious in a bathing suit or shorts this summer. Want to get rid of them for good? Learn how sclerotherapy can help.

What to Expect From Vein Surgery

Varicose veins are a common vascular condition. Most cases can be managed with lifestyle changes, although some require surgery. Learn when surgery is your best option for unsightly varicose veins and what to expect.

The Importance of Dialysis for Kidney Failure

We can’t underestimate the importance of dialysis for kidney failure. Kidney failure is a terminal, nonreversible condition. But dialysis can extend your life. Here’s what you need to know.

The Dangers of Blood Clots

Blood clots can be dangerous and hard to diagnose. Don’t ignore the potential signs of blood clots. Learn the symptoms and treatment options so you can avoid the danger.