6 Tips For Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy

Pregnant women with leg numbness

 

Restless leg syndrome during pregnancy is surprisingly common. This condition involves leg numbness and other odd sensations which can interfere with sleep. We are sharing our favorite tips to help you find relief of RLS symptoms!

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes odd and uncomfortable sensations in the legs. Descriptions of these include tingly, crawling, and creeping feelings. There also may be an overwhelming urge to move the affected limb. Some women report ‘numb legs’. These symptoms typically occurs in the evening, classically disrupting sleep.

Interestingly enough, about 26% of pregnant women have secondary restless leg syndrome. The direct cause of this during pregnancy is unknown, but there are likely a number of factors at play. These include hormonal changes, mineral deficiencies, dopamine imbalance, activity levels, and more. Restless legs for pregnant women usually resolves within weeks after delivery, but home tips can help relieve symptoms to help you get more quality sleep. 

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Watch this video to learn our AT HOME & IN OFFICE techniques for restless leg syndrome during pregnancy. In this video, you will learn stretches for pregnancy leg numbness and see a sneak peak of what treatment looks like in the clinic.

Our 6 Favorite Tips for Leg Numbness during Pregnancy:

Epsom Salt Bath for Restless Legs

Epsom salt contains magnesium, which can be helpful for nerve and muscle complaints. Your body is able to absorb the magnesium through the skin helping relief restless leg during pregnancy! Try adding 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and enjoy for 20 minutes! However, if you start to feel lightheaded or woozy, carefully get out, cool off, and stay hydrated!

Compression Socks

Compression socks can be useful during pregnancy namely for helping with swelling. They can also be helpful in easing discomfort and pain symptoms of RLS. During pregnancy, blood volume increases dramatically to help support your growing babe. Your ability to pump blood during pregnancy also diminishes slightly, which is why swelling becomes common in the second and third trimesters. Compression can help improve lower leg circulation of both blood and lymph fluid. Improving circulation can ease nerve irritation. You can wear them anytime, even while you sleep, to help with your symptoms! Kinesiotape is another great tool to help improve circulation in the lower legs.

Hydration & Electrolytes

As we mentioned above, plasma volume [blood], increases rapidly during the second trimester which leads to symptoms like swelling in the last two trimesters of pregnancy.  With this dramatic increase, our basic needs, like water, also increase. In order for water to get into your cells, it follows electrolytes like sodium and potassium! We love LMNT Electrolytes, because there is not only potassium and sodium included but also magnesium. [See more on magnesium below!]

Magnesium for Restless Leg Syndrome

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 sleep. When you are 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. If you struggle with GI issues, a topical magnesium option may be a better fit. Magnesium can be absorbed through the skin [rather than your gut].

Magnesium Supplement Options for Pregnancy:

CALM Powder Magnesium Supplement

Magnesium Lotion for Restless Leg Syndrome during Pregnancy 

Calcium / Magnesium Supplement

Exercise

Exercise and movement is essential for health, and the benefits are endless. When looking at leg numbness [RLS] during pregnancy, a study found that people who exercise reported a reduction in RLS symptoms around 40%. AND the intensity isn’t important! Actually, yoga seems  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 patterns.

Pregnant women doing yoga

Vitamin E , Vitamin C, Folate, and Iron:

There are other nutrients that can also be beneficial for RLS symptoms. Iron is recommended as RLS during pregnancy is commonly associated with iron deficiency anemia [low iron in the blood]. Clinical research showed that taking ferrous sulfate with Vitamin C twice daily is likely to reduces RLS symptoms. Low levels of folate contribute to RLS symptoms, so make sure you are consuming enough folate in supplement or food form. Additionally, consuming Vitamin C with Vitamin E can help improve symptoms further. 

Supplements for RLS

RLS RECOMMENDATIONS:

[ 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 ]

Find the full shopping list for restless leg syndrome on Amazon!

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This post includes affiliate links. We make a small commission for products purchased using these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Chiro for Moms/Chiro for Kidz, and making the content you see on this blog possible.

Resources:

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

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