New research shows that pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome is marked by an urge to move the legs and is generally accompanied by unpleasant numbness, tingling or burning sensations. Patients also report an increase in symptoms during rest, a partial, temporary relief from symptoms through activity, and a worsening of symptoms at night. Symptoms tend to progress with age.
Researchers say they found that pregnant study participants most affected by the condition were older, had low iron and a higher prevalence of insomnia, and snored more than the unaffected group. Symptoms after delivery rapidly improved, leading researchers to believe hormones, rather than iron deficiency, play a role in this form of RLS.
Of the 606 women in the study, about 26 percent reported having RLS. Of these women, 101 reported experiencing the condition for the first time. One-fourth of the women experienced RLS symptoms at least once a week, and 15 percent reported symptoms at least three times a week. RLS symptoms appeared or worsened generally around the sixth month, reaching a peak at the seventh and eighth months of pregnancy. RLS prevalence dramatically decreased around the time of delivery.