restless leg syndrome during pregnancyInsomnia or ineffective sleep can cause frustration and stress. Stress is proven to have detrimental side effects on pregnancy. Researchers in Switzerland recently published a study in the journal Neurology assessing the prevalence and effect of restless leg syndrome on pregnancy. Restless leg syndrome can affect sleep patterns and cause insomnia.

Researchers followed 501 women with updates in each trimester and at eight weeks postpartum. Of the 501 women, 58 (12%) were diagnosed with restless leg syndrome. About 40% of the women diagnosed had a family history of the condition. More than half the women first recognized symptoms prior to week 20 of the pregnancy. Patients were assessed for symptoms using the IRLSS (International Restless Legs Syndrome Scale) and PSQI (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Questionnaire).

Conclusion: This study found fewer pregnant women suffering from restless leg syndrome than other studies. Estrogen, ferrin and anemia did not appear to play a factor, but family history did. Scores for IRLSS and PLM dropped by at least 50% at eight weeks postpartum.

Source: Hübner A, Krafft A, Gadient S, Werth E, Zimmermann R, Bassetti CL. Characteristics and determinants of restless legs syndrome in pregnancy: A prospective study. Neurology. 2013 Feb 6.