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5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

Posted by Jesse Lillejord on
Restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is actually fairly common. This condition involves leg sensations and restlessness which can interfere with sleep. We are sharing our favorite tips to help you find relief of RLS symptoms! As always, reach out with any questions you may have!
5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes odd and uncomfortable sensations in the legs. Descriptions of these include tingly, crawling, creeping feelings, and the overwhelming urge to move the leg/affected limb. This typically occurs in the evening, classically disrupting sleep.
Interestingly enough, about 26% of pregnant women have secondary RLS. The cause of this is unknown but could be related to hormones, mineral deficiencies, or a dopamine imbalance. RLS for pregnant women typically resolves within weeks after delivery, but home tips can help relieve symptoms to help you get more quality sleep.
5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

1. Epsom Salt Baths :

Use 2 cups of Epsom salts and enjoy a warm bath for 20 minutes!  If you feel lightheaded or woozy at all, carefully get out, cool off, + stay hydrated! Epsom salt contains magnesium, which can be helpful for nerve + musculoskeletal type complaints (we will explain this more below).  

5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

2. Compression Socks: 

Compression socks can be useful during pregnancy namely for helping with swelling that may occur later in pregnancy. They can also be helpful in easing discomfort and pain symptoms of RLS. Compression improves circulation of both the blood and lymph fluid which can ease nerve irritation. You can wear them anytime, even while you sleep, to help with your symptoms!
5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

3. Magnesium Supplement

Neuromuscular and central nervous system irritability is one of the key manifestations of a magnesium deficiency. This micronutrient deficiency is common in the Western diet culture, but even more so for pregnant women who have depleted magnesium stores. Taking a magnesium supplement has been shown to decrease RLS symptoms and improve insomnia. When looking for magnesium supplements, look for magnesium malate, oxolate, or threonate. The RDA for magnesium during pregnancy is between 350-400mg, which often times is not completely included in a prenatal vitamin. Taking the supplement prior to bed may be especially helpful for a restful sleep. 
Magnesium supplement links/options:
Magnesium Lotion 
Calcium / Magnesium
5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

4. Exercise!

A study found that people with RLS who exercise reported a reduction in symptoms around 40%. The intensity isn’t important! Actually, yoga has been seen to be particularly beneficial. According to this study women with RLS who practiced yoga had less severe symptoms and less stress. They also reported better moods and sleep habits. 
5 Tips for Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

5. Vitamin E , Vitamin C, and Iron:

There are other micronutrients that can also be beneficial for RLS. Iron is recommended as RLS during pregnancy is commonly associated with iron deficiency anemia. Clinical research showed that taking ferrous sulfate with Vitamin C twice daily is likely to reduces RLS symptoms. Additionally, combining Vitamin C with Vitamin E showed notable improvement in symptoms. 
[ please consult with your doctor before starting anything! This is simply a guide, not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ prescription ]
— Vitamin E : 400 mg/day [safe up to 1000 mg/day in the second and third trimesters]
— Vitamin C: 100-200 mg/day
— Iron: 45 mg/day is the upper limit during pregnancy [ Iron supplementation should be proportional to the iron deficiency ]


Hornyak M, Voderholzer U, Hohagen F, Berger M, Riemann D. Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study. Sleep. 1998;21(5):501-505. doi:10.1093/sleep/21.5.501

Innes KE, Selfe TK, Agarwal P, Williams K, Flack KL. Efficacy of an eight-week yoga intervention on symptoms of restless legs syndrome (RLS): a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2013;19(6):527-535. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0330
Wang J, O'Reilly B, Venkataraman R, Mysliwiec V, Mysliwiec A. Efficacy of oral
iron in patients with restless legs syndrome and a low-normal ferritin: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Sleep Med. 2009;10(9):973-975. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2008.11.003
Sagheb MM, Dormanesh B, Fallahzadeh MK, et al. Efficacy of vitamins C, E, and their combination for treatment of restless legs syndrome in hemodialysis patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Sleep Med. 2012;13(5):542-545. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2011.11.010
 *** As always don't hesitate to reach out with questions /// thoughts surrounding this topic! ***
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