Leg Cramps and Restless Legs Syndrome During Pregnancy


  • Jennifer G. Hensley CNM, WHNP-BC, LCCE, EdD

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Jennifer G. Hensley, CNM, WHNP-BC, LCCE, EdD, is a certified nurse-midwife and board-certified women's health care nurse practitioner. She is the coordinator of the Nurse-Midwifery Master's Option in the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado Denver, Denver CO.

College of Nursing, University of Colorado Denver, 1743 Verbena St., Denver, CO 80220. E-mail: jennifer.hensley@ucdenver.edu


Sleep disturbance during pregnancy can result in excessive daytime sleepiness, diminished daytime performance, inability to concentrate, irritability, and the potential for an increased length of labor and increased risk of operative birth. Sleep disturbance may be the result of a sleep disorder, such as leg cramps, a common yet benign disorder, or restless legs syndrome, a sensorimotor disorder. Both disrupt sleep, are distressing to the pregnant woman, and mimic one another and other serious disorders. During pregnancy, up to 30% of women can be affected by leg cramps, and up to 26% can be affected by restless legs syndrome.