Restless legs syndrome and pregnancy

Neurology. 2004 Sep 28;63(6):1065-9. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000138427.83574.a6.


Objective: To perform a large and detailed epidemiologic study on restless legs syndrome (RLS) during pregnancy and the puerperium.

Methods: A structured clinical interview, assessing symptoms since the beginning of pregnancy, was performed to a population of 642 pregnant women at the time of delivery and at follow-up evaluation (1, 3, and 6 months after delivery). Main hematologic tests were also evaluated. A woman was considered affected if she met the International RLS Study Group criteria for RLS diagnosis.

Results: Twenty-six percent of women were affected by RLS during their pregnancy. The disease was strongly related to the third trimester of pregnancy and tended to disappear reaching the time of delivery. Affected women presented lower values of hemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume compared with healthy subjects (both groups received the same supplemental iron and folate therapy).

Conclusions: Pregnancy is associated with transient restless legs syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Erythrocyte Indices
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Nocturnal Myoclonus Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Prevalence
  • Puerperal Disorders / blood
  • Puerperal Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology
  • Recurrence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / blood
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / etiology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Disorders, Intrinsic / epidemiology
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / epidemiology


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron