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Restless Leg Syndrome

1059 Views 17 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  mamaknature
I'm 34 weeks, and this last week I've been introduced to a new sensation: Restless Leg Syndrome. It's like having the lower half of your body hopped up on caffeine... while you're trying to go to sleep!

Some evenings, I've been listening to different Hypnobabies cds to help relax. But I'm finding that if the RLS is in force, I cannot for the life of me get settled or go limp. If you don't move your leg, it's like a strange internal itch that gets worse and worse until something moves!

I was hoping hypnosis would help stave this off, but apparently it's a nerve thing, not something that can be consciously controlled. Or can it?

It seems to hit between 11 pm and 2 in the morning, and it's driving me nuts. I'm taking liquid Floradix with iron 2x/day, in case it's mineral-related... but from what I read, about 10-15% of pregnant ladies get this and there's no specific cause or treatment (there are drugs for it, but they aren't good to use during pregnancy). A warm bath sometimes helps for a bit... but if I can't get to sleep quickly, it starts again (and of course, knowing that you need to get to sleep quickly doesn't help you get to sleep at all!).

Any ideas or experiences to share?

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I would try calcium, which is generally soothing on the nervous system.
Poor thing--I feel your pain!!

I have it really bad every since I went through menopause at 33. It is hormonally related--and that is why pregnant women and women in meno often are afflicted with it.

You are so right about the description. The only thing that helps me is when it is really bad I have to get up and jog and hyper stretch my legs (really fun at 3 am
) After I get them really fatigued I can usually get back to sleep by the time it stops again. It is a build up of lactic acid, and excessive exercise helps to break it up.

I have heard that Calcium and magnesium helps. I have started drinking a small glass of milk before bed, and I do notice it seems to help.

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I second the calcium and magnesium. You might want to add a little potassium, too. Try eating a banana before bed. Better yet, have a glass of the OJ with calcium. That would be high in all three.
Katje-My sis's ex-partner was a sleep-disorder expert of sorts (worked in a sleep lab/did research, etc.) It is considered a "disorder" and I'm sure you can find more info if you do a google search. It's a real, deal kinda thing. My sis had it-along with some other sleep disorders-and I think she may have taken some medication to help her sleep b/c it was so bad at times. It very well could be situational with the pregnancy as you haven't had it before. Must be really, really annoying, Katje...
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thanks, everyone... and wow, lisa! nice to know i'm not alone... but at least i'm pretty sure mine will go away once the baby's born. hope you find a way to stave it off for the long term.

milk before bed is a possibility, but OJ would kill me! (i definitely have bedtime heartburn).

i have googled it a bit, and that's why i'm pumping the Floradix... but maybe i'll swipe some of my vegan daughter's mineral supplements too. apparently the meds that work on it are the same they use for Parkinson's Disease, but they're definitely not safe for pregnancy.

i guess we'll file this along with the heartburn, the waddling, and the swollen ankles... just another little joy of pregnancy.

thanks again, everyone... just a few more weeks!

katje the twitchy
katje, I think I've got this too, just not that bad. I get this thing going on in my legs some nights that just feels like they are just super uncomfortable inside and no matter how I position them they just can't get comfortable. I don't notice it when I'm moving my legs, but as soon as I lay still...

Anyway, I don't know if it's the same thing, but I am feeling ya momma!
Sorry to hear that you are afflicted with pregnancy-induced RLS. I had it with my first pregnancy during the last couple of months too. It went away immediately after the birth (or maybe I was just too exhausted to notice!).

My mom has RLS long-term and takes the medication for Parkinsons. I am only 32 weeks along and have had only mild symptoms thus far. Each night before bed I have a small bowl of Kashi with milk (helps me get drowsy) and a whole banana. Managed to keep my weight manageable this time, too -- but not sure if that has made a difference.

Last time, I started a nightly routine that helped make the jitters less bothersome. A short walk, followed by yoga-like stretches, then straight to bed. Sleeping on our couch seemed to help too. I was too aware of how much my restlessness kept my dh awake and that made me more uncomfortable.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I will avoid it this time.
I agree with the calcium and some walking, too. Make sure you get a calcium with magnesium at a 2:1 ratio.
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I get this every night even though I'm taking vitamins. I'll try drinking a glass of milk and see if that helps. What I wind up doing, and it does work for me, is to lay in bed (I'm too lazy to get up) and excercise my legs one at a time until they are both exhausted and I can barely move. I usually fall asleep after this.... (nice side benefit: I think my leg muscles are getting stronger!)
Oh, I've also read somewhere that a diet too high in phosphorus can cause this. (Its in lots of processed foods)

I have it too and its really uncomfortable.
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Yes. I have it too. It was much worse with my first pregnancy than it is now. I found that a good hard leg massage really helps. Poor DH would have to rub y thighs until I fell asleep for the last month of my pregnancy. I get it when I'm not pregnant too, but not as bad and for me it seems to be related to too much exercise. Stretching also helps too.
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My dh had this and it went away on a gluten and corn free diet.

He only gets it when we imbibes in some of the no no foods.

I know how detrimental this can be to sleeping. Dh is so frustrated with it.

Good luck!
Is that the painful stuff? Like charley horse??
I've woken up screaming a couple night this week in pain!
: I did that pre-pg too tho, some. Not in a long time.
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No, it's not painful. It's just as Katje described -- like one's legs are 'hopped up on caffeine'.
My midwife recommended 400 iu of vit. e daily to sooth rls. I asked her about calcium and she said calcium might work, but that several of her clients had experienced trouble with digestion and contractions in labor b/c the calcium does something to smooth muscles. What?... I don't remember!

She suggested trying the vit. e and if it did nothing to try the calcium in limited doses.

I am having the same trouble with my legs. I am now in my second trimester and it has gotten better, but it is still annoying to not be able to sleep b/c my legs want to run laps!
I had it with both of my pregnancies, and I didn't figure out what to do until the second. For me the calcium and magnesium worked wonders. You need to get the citrate form of both for it to work, though (it's more absorbable), and if possible get a 2:1 ratio, with the 2 being the magnesium. It's hard to find it that way, so I got separate supplements and took more of the magnesium.

Oh, and someone gave me an excellent tip for Charlie Horses...when you stretch your legs, make sure you keep your feet flexed instead of pointed and you won't get a charliehorse. It works!!

love to all of you

(I'm not pregnant, but it's late and I'm following my mouse!!)
If not, try making sure that your pre-natal vitamins don't have gelatin (or any soy protein). I've had similar problems and found those to be the source.
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