Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pregnancy is a risk factor for restless legs syndrome


Pregnant women are at higher risk for the occurrence or worsening of restless legs syndrome (RLS), a movement disorder that affects up to 10 percent of the general population, according to a study reported in the September 28 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers in Milan, Italy, recently concluded a large and detailed epidemiological study on RLS during pregnancy and six months postpartum that demonstrates at least one in four pregnant women experience RLS. RLS is characterized by an urge to move the legs, generally accompanied by unpleasant numbness, tingling, or burning sensations; an increase in symptoms during rest and a partial, temporary relief from symptoms through activity; and a worsening of symptoms in the evening or at night. Symptoms tend to progress with age.

The association between RLS and pregnancy was noted first in 1940, and confirmed later by a few epidemiological investigations. "While several attempts have been made to study the connection between pregnancy and RLS, ours is the first epidemiological study to use the four standard International RLS committee diagnostic criteria," noted Mauro Manconi, MD, of the Sleep Disorders Center at Vita-Salute University, Milan.

A total of 606 women, admitted to the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of Ferrara University between February and June 2002, were included in the study. Two neurologists certified in sleep medicine interviewed the women within two days of delivery, and those affected by RLS were interviewed again at the end of the first, third, and sixth month after delivery. The initial interview included demographic data, personal and family medical history, course of pregnancy, physical measurements of mother and newborn, iron and folate therapy, sleep habits, and presence of sleep disorders. A detailed description of RLS symptoms, if present during and before pregnancy, was also evaluated. A woman was considered affected by RLS if she met all four International RLS Study Group criteria.

Of the 606 women in the study, 161 (26.6 percent) reported the occurrence of RLS, 101 of whom reported experiencing RLS for the first time. One-fourth of the women experienced RLS symptoms at least once a week, and 15 percent at least three times a week. The appearance or worsening of RLS symptoms was generally around the sixth month, reaching a peak at the seventh and eighth months of pregnancy. RLS prevalence dramatically decreased around the time of delivery, ranging between five and six percent at six months postpartum.

RLS symptoms had a significant impact on sleep, with affected women reporting a reduced total sleep time, longer sleep latency, and more frequent insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness compared to non-affected women. "The pregnant women most affected by RLS were older, had lower values of iron storage indicators, a higher prevalence of insomnia, and snored more than the unaffected group," commented Manconi. However he also said, "Our results on a significant difference in iron storage indicators support a hypothesis that a relative iron deficit could play a role in this form of RLS, though the rapid improvement of RLS symptoms after delivery give more power to a hormonal rather than iron-related hypothesis."

Even if the real cause of the association between RLS and pregnancy remains unclear, this study is the first to show a significant correlation between low iron indicators values and the risk to develop RLS. Further investigations are needed to evaluate the role of hormonal state and of personal genetic background predisposition in the cause of this temporary state of RLS.

Marilee Reu | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>