The prevalence of Restless Legs Syndrome/Willis-ekbom disease (RLS/WED) in the third trimester of pregnancy: a systematic review

BMC Neurol. 2020 Apr 13;20(1):132. doi: 10.1186/s12883-020-01709-0.


Background: RLS is known as one of the most common movement disorders during pregnancy, which is most aggravated in the third trimester of pregnancy and can affect up to one-third of pregnant women. This study intends to determine the total prevalence of RLS in the third trimester of pregnancy through a systematic review.

Methods: The present study was conducted via meta-analysis method up to 2019. The papers related to the subject of interest were obtained through searching in SID, MagIran, IranDoc, Scopus, Embase, Web of Science (ISI), PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar databases. Heterogeneity of the studies was examined via I2 index, and the data were analyzed in Comprehensive meta-analysis software.

Results: In investigating 10 papers capturing 2431 subjects within the age range of 25-39 years, the total prevalence of RLS in the third trimester of pregnancy based on meta-analysis was obtained as 22.9% (95% CI: 14.7-33.8%). Further, as the sample size increased, the RLS prevalence diminished, while with increase in years, this prevalence increased, where this difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: Prevalence of RLS in the third trimester of pregnancy is high, healthcare policymakers should organize educational classes to improve the life dimensions among this group of pregnant women.

Keywords: Pregnancy; Prevalence; Restless legs syndrome; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Prevalence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*