Treatment for Restless Legs Syndrome during Pregnancy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 07, 2013
Quick Bites

  • Restless leg syndrome occurs in nearly 40 percent of pregnant women.
  • It can occur due to  to lack of folic acid or iron.
  • Tea, coffee or cola contain caffeine which can make it worse.
  • Activities involving alertness can reduce it.

Sleep well, take proper food, do yoga and avoid any stress- all would-be-moms are advised. Every family member takes special care of her. In fact, pregnant woman herself becomes very careful. In spite of following all the rules and listening to elderly advice, there are certain problems which a pregnant lady has to face. One such is Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).

a woman getting leg massageAlso known as Willis-Ekbom disease, RLS occurs in nearly 40 per cent of pregnant women. This starts generally in the third trimester of pregnancy, but goes away within four weeks of delivery, barring few exceptions. It causes itching, burning sensation, pulling or twitching in leg. RLS is a very discomforting situation for the expectant woman.

Quite often, pregnant women find it difficult to explain their problem as it can easily be confused with leg cramps- another common problem during pregnancy. But differentiation can be made between the two, because during leg cramps, the muscles get contracted and hardened. Also it is more painful and occurs for longer duration as compared to RLS.

Till date, not much has been known about the causes of RLS. But according to WebMD, a site which deals with medical problem, RLS in pregnancy may occur due to lack of folic acid or iron. Some evidence has also proved that rising estrogen levels during pregnancy may contribute to RLS.

During severe RLS, a person can be taken to the doctor. But very little research has been done on how to treat RLS during pregnancy. U.S. food and Drug Administration (FDA) till date has not approved any drug for treatment of RLS during pregnancy. Therefore, those having RLS should go for medication prior to pregnancy.

Also it states that in general, medication should be avoided during pregnancy, unless much needed. However iron and folate capsule can be taken. Avoiding medicine does not mean that RLS cannot be treated. Following a sedentary lifestyle can help a pregnant woman to get rid of or at least reduce RLS to a great extent. A pregnant woman suffering from RLS needs to follow the a proper lifestyle, which includes:


Physical activity keeps a lot of problems at bay. Even a brisk evening exercise is good, but should be avoided within four hours of sleeping.

Avoid caffeine

Beverages like tea, coffee or cola contain caffeine. It keeps the person awake and may worsen the situation. These should be avoided, especially within six hours of going to bed.

Sleep properly

Follow a proper routine.  Sleep at a fix time and also try to get up at a fix time. Warm bath before sleep can be really good. Try to sleep well; otherwise it will lead to fatigue.


This also proves very beneficial. Before sleeping do stretch your legs for some time. It can also be repeated after intervals.
Message- It provides great relief as it relaxes muscles and tension within the legs.  Also apply warm or cold compress to the legs.

Keep yourself busy

Pregnant women should engage in those activities which maintain alertness. This helps in reducing RLS. Such activities can include knitting; one of the favorite time pass of would be mothers. They can also try intense discussions or playing games on computer.

Hence, we can see that every problem has a solution. In case of pregnancy good lifestyle is one such medicine, which can treat many problems, including Restless Legs Syndrome.

Read more articles on Problems during Pregnancy

Is it Helpful Article?YES1 Vote 4007 Views 0 Comment
I have read the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Conditions. I provide my consent for my data to be processed for the purposes as described and receive communications for service related information.
This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK