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Ann Thorac Med. 2020 Jan-Mar;15(1):9-14. doi: 10.4103/atm.ATM_206_19. Epub 2020 Jan 2.

Prevalence of restless legs syndrome among pregnant women: A case-control study.

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Department of Medicine, The University Sleep Disorders Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



This cross-sectional case-control study aimed to assess the prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) and its correlates and severity among Arab (Saudi) pregnant women attending antenatal care clinics.


We interviewed 742 consecutive pregnant women attending antenatal clinics face-to-face using the International RLS Study Group (IRLSSG) criteria. We assessed the severity of RLS using the IRLSSG severity scale for RLS (IRLS). A similar number of age-matched nonpregnant women were enrolled in a control group.


Among the cases, 104 (14%) were in the first trimester, 232 (31.3%) in the second trimester, and 406 (54.7%) in the third trimester. The RLS prevalence in cases and controls was 30% and 26.5%, respectively, (P = 0.134). Among cases, severe/very severe RLS was diagnosed in 25% and mild/moderate in 75%, compared with 15% of controls having severe/very severe RLS and 85% having mild/moderate RLS (P < 0.001). Multivariate binary logistic regression analysis identified the following parameters as independent predictors of RLS: parity (odds ratio [OR] 1.113 [confidence intervals [CI] 1.012-1.223], P = 0.027), anemia (OR 1.452 [1.033-2.042], P = 0.03), diabetes mellitus (OR 1.734 [CI 1.084-2.774], P = 0.022), Vitamin D deficiency (OR 2.376 [CI 1.488-3.794],P < 0.001), and smoking (OR 3.839 [CI 1.463-10.074], P = 0.006). None of the cases had been diagnosed or treated for RLS in the antenatal clinics.


RLS is common, but underdiagnosed, among Saudi pregnant women and nonpregnant women of childbearing age. The study revealed that RLS during pregnancy is linked to parity, anemia, diabetes mellitus, Vitamin D deficiency, and smoking.


Anemia; Vitamin D; diabetes mellitus; movement disorders; parity; sleep

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