Periodic limb movements in sleep during pregnancy: a common but benign disorder?

AuthorsWilson, D.L.
Walker, S.P.
Fung, A.M.
O'Donoghue, F. J.
Barnes, M.
Howard, M.E.
TypeJournal Article (Original Research)
JournalSleep and Biological Rhythms
Year of Publication2017
AbstractPregnant women have a two- to threefold increased prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) compared to the general population, and the majority of RLS patients also experience periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). PLMS have been associated with sleep disturbance as well as autonomic heart rate and blood pressure responses; however, the prevalence, cause and significance of PLMS during pregnancy remain unknown. This study evaluated the presence of PLMS in late pregnancy and its relationship to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Ninety-one women in the third trimester of pregnancy underwent overnight polysomnography. An RLS questionnaire and the Multivariate Apnea Risk Index were administered and venous blood was sampled within 2 weeks of the sleep study. After exclusions due to obstructive sleep apnoea and signal loss, PLMS data were available for 73 women, 36 hypertensive women and 37 BMI- and gestation-matched controls. PLMS were found to be very common during pregnancy; 45% of women had a PLMS index > 5 and 25% had a PLMS index > 15. The number of PLMS per hour did not differ by hypertensive status. Sleep quality was mostly unaffected by PLMS, as was change in blood pressure overnight. While RLS was reported by 18.3% of the sample, this did not reliably predict the presence of PLMS. Despite iron deficiency being common in this population, it was not associated with PLMS. This novel study investigating the frequency and impact of PLMS during pregnancy revealed that PLMS are very common in the third trimester; however, this disorder appears to be benign in terms of objective sleep quality and relationship with pregnancy-related hypertension.

< More publications

Notch monitoring in sleepNOTCH MONITORING IN SLEEP

Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing is abnormal during sleep. There are two main forms of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. For obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is reduced because the airway...


Each year in Australia 260 people sustain a SCI, with over half losing full function in their arms and legs (quadriplegia). In addition to the primary disability, there is a very high rate of Obstructive...

NTC releases 'world first' heavy vehicle driver fatigue studyNTC RELEASES 'WORLD FIRST' HEAVY VEHICLE DRIVER FATIGUE STUDY

The National Transport Commission (NTC) and the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC) have released the results of what is hailed as a world-first study into heavy vehicle driver fatigue.

AAMRI Election Statement released on 25th March 2019AAMRI ELECTION STATEMENT RELEASED ON 25TH MARCH 2019

AAMRI released its election statement calling on politicians to commit to three main priorities: ensuring the MRFF reaches $20 billion by 2020-21, provide continued strong support for the NHMRC, and develop sustainable and rewarding career pathways.

IBAS Director Anna Burke unveils her portrait at Canberra's Parliament HouseIBAS DIRECTOR ANNA BURKE UNVEILS HER PORTRAIT AT CANBERRA'S PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Anna Burke had barely got into the swing of her speech at the unveiling of her portrait at Canberra's Parliament House when the ringing of bells caused half her audience to hurry away

National study offers hope for breathlessnessNATIONAL STUDY OFFERS HOPE FOR BREATHLESSNESS

A national medication study is aiming to help thousands of Australians who struggle every day with shortness of breath

Institute for Breathing and Sleep

Level 5, Harold Stokes Building, Austin Hospital
145 Studley Road
Heidelberg, Victoria, 3084

(03) 9496 5390

Email Us