- Restless Legs Syndrome at Pregnancy
- What is RLS?
- Why There is RLS?
- How this Disease is Shown?
- How to Improve the Physical State for RLS?
Restless Legs Syndrome at Pregnancy
The period of waiting for the childbirth is joyful, but it is not the easiest time for the pregnant woman. A concern for the baby’s health and some anxiety felt on her own account, changes in appetite, toxicosis, heartburn — all this frequently accompanies pregnancy and quite often causes deterioration in future mother’s health and sleep disorder. And so-called restless legs syndrome, or RLS is also one more reason of complaints which is no rare during this period.
What is RLS?
RLS has quite long and capacious definition which is considered by today's medicine standards. In brief it can be defined as a neurologic disorder that causes an unpleasant feeling in legs. These feelings generally happen when at rest and therefore can make it hard to sleep.
Why There is RLS?
It’s worth pointing out, that restless legs syndrome arises not only in pregnant women. On average RLS affects 10-15 % of adults, both women and men, and its development is bound to the most different reasons.
RLS symptoms appear approximately in every third woman among pregnant ones, and their emergence is bound to changes which happen in female body: such as hormonal reorganization, stagnation of blood in legs blood-vessels, or low folic acid and iron levels.
How this Disease is Shown?
When falling asleep in the evening, the pregnant woman may feel unpleasant sensations in legs in the form of «crawling», «pricking», «burning», or «buzzing» feelings, sensory symptoms of shiver or paresthesia. Sometimes pains or convulsive disorder in lower limbs can happen. The sensations are localized in the area of feet, shanks or hips so that the waves of pain recur approximately each 15-30 seconds. The symptoms cause an irresistible urge to move the legs. But they considerably decrease or would be over due to movements, walking, and during legs massage.
Signs of restless legs syndrome are usually shown during the period from 18 o'clock in the evening to 4 o'clock in the morning, and spontaneously disappear closer to dawn. People with RLS have periodic (each 15-40 seconds) twitchings of lower limbs during sleep.
It’s guessable that RLS symptoms complicate falling asleep very much, cause movements of legs may awake patients when they just about to fall asleep. Therefore patients with restless legs syndrome often complain of sleeplessness at night and drowsiness in the afternoon. This syndrome can proceed in the mild form, without any negative impact on a sleep and on a general state. But sometime it may be rather marked.
How to Improve the Physical State for RLS?
How can I relieve restless leg syndrome during pregnancy? If you have found signs of restless legs syndrome in yourself, then first of all it is necessary to report about them to the doctor who supervises your pregnancy. The doctor can appoint the blood test which will show a level of folic acid and iron in blood. If deficiency of these components is revealed, the respective preparations will be prescribed. They are safe for the child and will help to improve your physical state.
If these indicators are normal, then RLS is most likely caused by hormonal changes or by development of stagnation of blood-vessels. Preparations won't capable to influence them, but it is possible to try to improve the physical state by other means. Several advices for pregnant women which will help them to improve their state without any harm for the child’s health are given below.
- It is necessary to engage in sleep hygiene and to sleep in well aired, cool, quiet room.
- It is possible to change the mode of sleep. Someone lays down earlier, without waiting for emergence of signs of syndrome, and to someone, on the contrary, it is better to go to sleep later and to wake later, when unpleasant symptoms of RLS have already be "spent".
- It is recommended during the day to allow itself moderate loading with partial legs support. It may be usual walking or walk at slow speed. The main thing is not to get tired too, otherwise symptoms can even amplify.
- Some women may be helped by intensive grinding or foot massage before going to bed.
- Sometimes foot baths with very hot or with very cold water may be quite effective.
- Caffeine strengthens RLS symptoms, therefore it is recommended to exclude caffeine-laced drinks from your diet, such as coffee, cocoa, chocolate, Coca-Cola.
- Except caffeine, alcohol worsens the state of RLS patients. However, expectant mothers would scarce be worth to remind refusing it.
- Some pregnant women find for themselves individual and sometimes quite original means to save them from RLS symptoms, for example, eating bananas before going to bed or putting a piece of soap on the legs under a blanket. Alas, such methods don't eliminate the disease at all.
Sometimes future mothers exhausted with pains and spasms in their legs despair and say that nothing could help them at all. If you are going to sink into desperation too, you don't hurry to make it wrong. Look for a way which will suit you and if you aren't able to cope with the problem, don't forget that there are doctors which are always ready to help you. By the way, as soon as your pregnancy is over, restless legs will cease to disturb you with a high probability.