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What Is Restless Legs In Pregnancy?

What Is Restless Legs In Pregnancy?
Writer and expert3 years ago
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What Is Restless Legs In Pregnancy?

Many Mamas find themselves with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), in fact this condition affects 25% of pregnant women. But what is restless legs? And, how do you know if you've got it?

It's often described as a 'creepy-crawly' feeling, accompanied by the urge to move or kick your legs to relieve a tingling or burning sensation. RLS can occur at any stage of your pregnancy, although is most common during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

Why Do You Get Restless Legs In Pregnancy?

There are certain things increase the likelihood of suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome. This includes being overweight, having high blood pressure, anaemia or taking some medications such as anti-depressants. However a lot of women find themselves with RLS for what seems like no reason at all. There's no conclusive studies which can explain this, but it is thought to be linked to hormonal changes during pregnancy.

What Can You Do About RLS?

Unfortunately most drugs that treat RLS have not been studied extensively in pregnant women, so there isn't enough data to determine whether or not they could adversely harm your unborn baby. Meaning they're a no-go. Here's a few other options that have been known to help with RLS in pregnant women:

  • Avoid caffeine: although it's likely you've already dramatically cut back on your caffeine intake (oh coffee how you're missed!) you may still be ingesting it unknowingly, even chocolate contains levels of caffeine.
  • Only lie down in bed when it's time to sleep: lying in bed watching TV or reading a book before sleep can actually make things worse. The longer you lie still, the more likely your RLS will occur.
  • Routine: get into a sleep routine. Some people find going to bed at the same time each evening ensures that they're tired and ready to drift off straight away, preventing Restless Leg Syndrome from acting up before you get to sleep.
  • Get a massage: some women find having a foot and leg massage can really help with Restless Leg Syndrome. Our top tip? Grab some Lucky Legs Cooling Gel and your significant other. Not only will this result in you getting a foot rub, our invigorating gel gives an instant cooling effect and the menthol can help ease muscle discomfort.
  • Regular exercise and muscle work: some mamas find that strengthening exercises help prevent RLS. Even getting out for a brisk walk can help, if hitting the gym isn't really your thing.
  • Stretching: why not try 5-10 minutes of yoga in the evenings as a preventative? Still found RLS is kicking in (no pun intended) during the night. Get up and stretch your entire leg from hip to toe.

The Good News?

If you've only suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome since becoming pregnant, for most Mamas within a few days of giving birth the symptoms have disappeared.

The Legs and Feet Edit

Explore our interview with pregnancy fitness expert Rosie from Mamawell on how to keep fit during your pregnancy, here!

Writer and expert
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