Leg cramps and restless legs syndrome during pregnancy

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2009 May-Jun;54(3):211-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2009.01.003.


Sleep disturbance during pregnancy can result in excessive daytime sleepiness, diminished daytime performance, inability to concentrate, irritability, and the potential for an increased length of labor and increased risk of operative birth. Sleep disturbance may be the result of a sleep disorder, such as leg cramps, a common yet benign disorder, or restless legs syndrome, a sensorimotor disorder. Both disrupt sleep, are distressing to the pregnant woman, and mimic one another and other serious disorders. During pregnancy, up to 30% of women can be affected by leg cramps, and up to 26% can be affected by restless legs syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Muscle Cramp* / diagnosis
  • Muscle Cramp* / drug therapy
  • Muscle Cramp* / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications* / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / etiology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Restless Legs Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome* / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*