With so many things already coming between you and a good night's sleep in your last trimester of pregnancy, it hardly seems fair that you have restless legs during pregnancy too. 15% or so of pregnant women experience restless legs during pregnancy. Your legs feel restless, creeping, crawling and tingly all over. It keeps the rest of your body from settling down. It's most common at night, but it can also strike in the late afternoon or pretty much any time that you are lying or sitting down.
Experts aren't sure what causes restless legs during pregnancy, and they are even less sure of how to treat it. None of the tricks of the leg cramp trade- including rubbing, massaging or flexing- seem to bring relief.
It is possible that diet, stress and other environmental factors may contribute to the problem.
Restless Leg Syndrome During Pregnancy - What are The Medical AlternativesAuthor: LucasSteagner
Restless leg syndrome in pregnancy can pose an unusual set of challenges for both you and your physician. It might be difficult to distinguish severe leg cramps from restless leg symptoms, since both of them can disrupt sleep during pregnancy. One of the differences is that leg cramps can be painful and prolonged, and include a stiffening or hardening of the muscle. While restless legs often strike a person for the first time during pregnancy, if you already had RLS it becomes aggravated when you are pregnant.
Studies have found that RLS can affect up to one in four women who are pregnant. While symptoms often resolve themselves following delivery there are some women who are more prone to developing a chronic form of RLS with each successive pregnancy. In general, symptoms of RLS might appear for the first time or might increase in the third trimester.
The apparent cause of RLS in pregnancy is still under debate. Some research, however, has been devoted to factors such as low mineral and vitamin levels, decreased bladder capacity, prolonged caffeine half-life, sleep deprivation due to other body changes, hormonal changes, and the increased weight that is placed on the legs during the later stages of pregnancy. One recent study suggested that lower the rates of restless leg syndrome occurred in pregnant women who were taking a folate supplement compared with women on a supplement without folate included.
If you do experience symptoms of restless leg syndrome in pregnancy, including crawling, tingling, and burning, combined with an irresistible urge to move the legs, and some relief when you do so, you should discuss all of the symptoms with your doctor. If your ferritin or folate levels are low supplementation should be given to bring these back up to normal range.
Other behaviors you can do yourself include avoiding nicotine, caffeine and alcohol, and engaging in regular moderate exercise. You should also be aware of any medications that might make symptoms of RLS worse. For example antihistamines can sometimes aggravate symptoms of RLS. You should be aware of behavioral methods you can do such as taking a brief warm bath, or engaging in activities that might stimulate the brain such as discussions, computer games, or even knitting. Most of the time of RLS will be less pronounced during the daytime. If you are fatigued during pregnancy there might be an opportunity for a quick nap.
If you are experiencing severe RLS then you and your physician may consider drugs for treatment of RLS. Of course, this should only be considered if you have explored any lifestyle or behavioral changes you can make to get yourself a better night's sleep. Medication should only be resorted to after all other approaches have failed and should only be used at the lowest possible dosage and frequency.
Finally, another supplement you can try is magnesium. Magnesium is important for the development of healthy bones and for smooth muscle contraction and relaxation. Deficiency of magnesium may lead to muscle cramps, muscle tension, and may include sensations that seem similar to those described in cases of restless leg syndrome in pregnancy. If you do decide that you might want to try a magnesium supplement discuss the proper dosage would be with your midwife or physician. And be sure to include sources of magnesium in your diet including fish, spinach, legumes, yogurt, brown rice and bananas.
What if you just can't get to sleep?
I know about lying awake through long nights of tossing and turning, looking at the clock and thinging about how exhausted you'll be tomorrow. If you what to get back to sleeping soundly and waking up refreshed you'll have to learn a few tips that make it simple again.
You can learn more about sleeping through the night and strategies that can make your life easier and about the pros and cons of restless leg syndrome medication .
Your life doesn't have to be ruled by restless leg syndrome! Pick up your free report on sleeping better by clicking the link.
Check out more info on having a healthy pregnancy here