AAN Logo Restless legs syndrome (RLS) seems to be a sleep-related motor disorder leading to an unpleasant feeling in the legs. As this condition presumably worsens during rest at night, it improves with movement. If the following piece of investigation is to be believed then, RLS in pregnancy and repeated occurrences in later years or future pregnancies may be linked. A recent study asserts that women with transient RLS while expecting are at a greater risk of developing chronic form of RLS later in life or have the same symptoms during future pregnancies.

Many a times when a woman experiences RLS in pregnancy, it supposedly disappears after the baby is born. Well, it now seems that presence of this condition while expecting raises threat of a future chronic form or the short-term form in other pregnancies. At the time of the study, 74 women experiencing restless legs syndrome during pregnancy and 133 who did not were examined. On completion of six and half years, authors interviewed the study participants about RLS symptoms, further pregnancy, occurrences of other diseases and any medications that were put to use. 18 women representing 24 percent who had RLS during pregnancy and 10 forming 8 percent without RLS in pregnancy were registered with this disorder at the end of the study.

So, those witnessing RLS while expecting are probably four times more likely to have the condition again than those who did not experience pregnancy-related RLS. These women were also three times more capable of reporting the chronic form than women not experiencing pregnancy-related RLS. Mauro Manconi, MD, PhD, with Vita-Salute University in Milan, Italy as well as the lead author of the study and colleagues claim that 60 percent of the women going through RLS during pregnancy develop the symptoms again in a future pregnancy. Such symptoms were seemingly observed in 3 percent of the women who did not have RLS during a first pregnancy but developed it during a future pregnancy. This 3 percent of women apparently faced a relative risk of 19.4.

The study was published in the December 7, 2010, print issue of Neurology.