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  Restless Legs
I have been so tired since I got pregnant, but it’s really awful because I can’t sleep! My legs are all twitchy and weird, and nothing I have tried has helped. Any ideas?

For around one in ten pregnant women, resting leads to restless legs syndrome. It’s ironic because you really need to rest, but the unpleasant sensations make it almost impossible to do so. The feelings are described differently by different people, but generally are creeping, itching and tingling sensations that are very agitating. They occur mostly in the feet and legs, and are usually more apparent when resting or lying down.

The truth is that in spite of the vast numbers of people who suffer from restless legs, its’cause is not known. Leg cramps can often be relieved by rubbing the legs or flexing the muscles, and some vitamin supplements do help with cramps. But none of these things help with restless legs. There are medications on the market which bring some relief to some people, but they are not safe for use during pregnancy.

There is evidence that an iron deficiency is responsible for restless legs in some women. It is worth discussing a good iron supplement with your doctor to see if this will relieve the symptoms. In addition, some women find that limiting the intake of carbohydrates in the latter part of the day can reduce the severity of the problem. You may have to undertake a project to see if you can find a link between daily occurrences such as diet and stress, and the intensity of the restless legs. Finding ways to manage your stress with exercise and meditation can be helpful. Improving your diet may alleviate the problem. But in the end, the fact is that you may never get to the bottom of why you suffer from restless legs, and unfortunately you may never find any relief. You may have to console yourself with the knowledge that for most women the problem disappears once they have delivered the baby.


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