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Restless legs syndrome and poor sleep in pregnant women

Filed in
  • Pregnancy
  • Women
  • Restless legs syndrome

By Corinne Lederhouse  |  Aug 23, 2017
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rlspregnancy-thumbPregnancy can mean sleepless nights and discomfort for many women. But are these common sleep disturbances indicators of an actual sleep disorder? Research from the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center suggests they could be. 

recent study found that 36 percent of women in their third trimester had restless legs syndrome (RLS). Half of the women with RLS had moderate to severe symptoms. 

The study involved 1,563 pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy. Those with RLS were twice as likely to report poor sleep quality and poor daytime function. Pregnant women with RLS were also more likely to have extreme daytime sleepiness. Results are published in the July 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 

Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes an intense desire to move your legs. The unpleasant, tingling sensation of RLS can make it hard to fall asleep at night. Women are almost two times as likely as men to develop the disorder.

Data from the study show that RLS is strongly associated with poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and poor daytime function. These symptoms are frequent complaints during pregnancy.

Doctors may overlook patient complaints of poor sleep, lead author Galit Levi Dunietz, PhD, said in a press release. This study suggests that such symptoms could be signs of RLS. Identifying and treating RLS during pregnancy can help minimize uncomfortable symptoms, Dunietz noted.


  1. 1 Debbie Perkins 22 May
    I can so relate to Lynne Murphy, above.  My legs actually hurt at times, the constant creepy feelings that take over are so frustrating and are only good for starting conversations. I kick the furniture, people too standing too close, I want to cry more times than not. People look at me as if I just went berserk for the instant kick I often times do. The creepy movement within my legs goes to my arms and entire body at times. Sitting, standing, laying, talking, walking, doing dishes. Nothing matters, when it starts, it starts! I too would be a formidable force to live with if my medicine were not available when I need it. 
  2. 2 Lynne Murphy 21 Mar
     30 plus years of intense RLS is really affecting my personality. Anger, impulsivity, bad memory and foggy thinking are but a few of my issues. Pramipexole mostly works, but my inability to stay asleep is catching up with me and I'm irritable all the time. Retail therapy or a glass of wine are about the only relaxers I have fall on. It's getting worse as I get older and it's affecting all my relationships.
    sometimes I think I'd have to kill myself if I couldn't have my medication available at any moment. God help me if I landed on a desert island!! I'd go literally insane!
  3. 3 Barkha sharma 09 Sep
    Hello sir. Mai 7 month pragnent hu or mujhe nind bilkul nahi aati.exercise or maditation k bad b mujhe nind nahi aati .nind na puri hone ki wajah se relax mahsus nahi hota.kabhi kabhi sleeping pills khani padti h pr uska asar baby pr hoga.plz hlp me.k mai kya karu jo 6 ghnte ki hi relax ki nind aa jaye rat ko.plz give me advice