7 so­lu­tions TO CALM THOSE CRAZY LEGS

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Special Report -

UP YOUR IRON IN­TAKE

Pay a visit to your GP and ask to have your lev­els of iron and fer­ritin (a pro­tein that stores iron) checked with a sim­ple blood test. Low lev­els are not thought to be a di­rect cause of the prob­lem, but top­ping up any short­fall will im­prove your over­all health and could re­lieve symp­toms. A sig­nif­i­cant de­fi­ciency is usu­ally best rec­ti­fied with tablets from your doc­tor. But eat­ing iron-rich foods through­out preg­nancy and be­yond makes good sense, and may re­duce your chances of de­vel­op­ing RLS again if you have an­other baby. A sim­ple diet switch is to have this iron-rich smoothie for break­fast: blend a peeled, cored ripe pear and ba­nana, 25ml each of pineap­ple and or­ange juice plus a hand­ful of raw, rinsed beet­root leaves or kale. Add blue­ber­ries to sweeten.

CUT OUT CAF­FEINE

You may have re­duced your caf­feine in­take, but it’s worth adopt­ing a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to help you fall into deep sleep more eas­ily. Most de­caf­feinated cof­fee con­tains some caf­feine, as does most tea, in­clud­ing green tea.

So stick to caf­feine-free herbal or Rooi­bos teas. And be aware that you’ll find caf­feine lurk­ing in some fizzy drinks and choco­late.

KEEP MOV­ING

Avoid sit­ting up in bed read­ing or surf­ing the net as this in­ac­tiv­ity can bring on RLS symp­toms. It’s thought that this ‘nor­mal’ rest in­ad­ver­tently trig­gers a re­sponse in the brain, which usu­ally kicks in with pro­longed im­mo­bil­ity to pro­tect the body from prob­lems such as pres­sure sores. Aim to be up and mov­ing un­til you’re ready to get into bed for sleep.

AP­PLY HEAT OR COLD

Bathing or tak­ing a long shower can help calm your legs. Ex­per­i­ment with wa­ter tem­per­a­tures to see what of­fers most re­lief. The like­li­hood is that the tem­per­a­ture change can switch off some of the ab­nor­mal re­sponse to rest. Gen­tle warmth from a heated pad helps some mums-to-be. Try the Sun­beam Feel Per­fect ther­a­peu­tic heat pad, $54.95. It heats up in 10 min­utes and has nine lev­els of safety pro­tec­tion. If warmth doesn’t help, try cool­ing your legs with a wrung-out-but-still damp tea towel that’s been in the freezer for two min­utes.

EX­ER­CISE YOUR LEG MUS­CLES

Wrig­gling or kick­ing your legs will bring some im­me­di­ate re­lief. Or try this sim­ple ex­er­cise: con­tract all the mus­cles sur­round­ing the rest­less area for 10 sec­onds, then re­lax them for 20 sec­onds. Re­peat five times while breath­ing slowly.

DIS­TRACT YOUR BRAIN

The Na­tures­pace app (iTunes & Google Play, free) fea­tures sounds rang­ing from oceans to rain­forests, and will help soothe you to sleep.

SOOTHE WITH MAS­SAGE

A gen­tle rub can of­fer tem­po­rary re­lief from symp­toms. Ask your part­ner to mas­sage your legs at bed­time, as you drift off, to quell the tin­gling long enough for you to fall asleep.

NONE OF THE PRE­SCRIP­TION DRUGS USED TO RE­LIEVE SE­VERE CASES OF REST­LESS LEGS SYN­DROME HAVE YET BEEN AD­E­QUATELY TESTED FOR USE DUR­ING PREG­NANCY.

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