Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy:
prevalence, possible pathophysiological mechanisms and treatment
Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, online 19 OCT 2015, DOI: 10.1111/ane.12520
R. Gupta 1, M. Dhyani 1, T. Kendzerska 2, S. R. Pandi-Perumal 3, A. S. BaHammam 4,5, P. Srivanitchapoom 6,7, S. Pandey 8 and M. Hallett 6
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a common sleep disorder that may be associated with pregnancy. Studies have found that the prevalence of RLS among pregnant women ranged from 10 to 34%. Typically, there is complete remission of symptoms soon after parturition; however, in some patients, they may continue postpartum.
RLS has been shown to be associated with a number of complications in pregnancy including
- preeclampsia and
- increased incidence of Cesarean sections.
Although multiple hypotheses have been proposed to explain this association, each individual hypothesis cannot completely explain the whole pathogenesis. Present understanding suggests that a
- strong family history,
- low serum iron and ferritin level, and
- high estrogen level during pregnancy might play important roles.
- Vitamin D deficiency and calcium metabolism may also play a role.
Medical treatment of RLS during pregnancy is difficult and challenging considering the risks to mother and fetus. However, in some cases, the disease may be severe enough to require treatment.
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The study says
Pregnant women with RLS reported more complications related to pregnancy and labor such as
- threatened abortion,
- premature labor,
- difﬁcult delivery, and
- intrauterine growth retardation;
however, the results were only marginally signiﬁcant
Also – increased risk of preeclampsia in RLS pregnant women
Note: Iron, Magnesium, and Vitamin D each reduce RLS
- Restless Legs Syndrome dramatically reduced by vitamin D, etc
- Restless legs and growing pains may be both due to low vitamin D – Sept 2013 nice Venn diagram
- Restless legs syndrome 5X more likely if low vitamin D – May 2014
- Iron deficiency is a cause of Vitamin D deficiency
- Low vitamin D - anemia 2.2X more likely (no surprise) – meta-analysis Aug 2015
- 5X more likely to be vitamin D deficient if anemic - Dec 2012
Pages listed in BOTH of the categories Iron and Pregnancy
- Pregnancy recommendations – huge differences in Vitamin D, Mg, iron, Iodine, DHA, etc – April 2021
- Micronutrients (such as Vitamin D) needed during pregnancy – May 2016
- Restless legs syndrome 3X more likely during pregnancy (low vitamin D) – Oct 2015
- Anemia in pregnant teens 7X more likely if low vitamin D – April 2015
- Restless Legs Syndrome/Willis-Ekbom Disease and Pregnancy Sept 2015
“3-fold more prevalent in pregnant than in non-pregnant women”
- A prospective study of Willis-Ekbom disease/restless legs syndrome during and after pregnancy Sept 2015
16% 1st trimester,
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