Pregnancy accounts for most of the gender difference in prevalence of familial RLS

Nicholas P. Pantaleo, Wayne A. Hening, Richard P. Allen, Christopher J. Earley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the associated risk of RLS with pregnancy in relation to the family history and the age of symptom onset of RLS. Methods and subjects: Data from a prior RLS family history study in which 1019 subjects (527 males, 492 females) were interviewed, provided a diagnosis and characterization of RLS and determination of pregnancy status on which the current study analysis was undertaken. Results: In the family members of RLS probands, the prevalence of RLS was significantly higher for parous women than for nulliparous women (49.5% vs. 33.7%, OR = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.16-3.19) or for men (49.5% vs. 30.0%, OR 2.29, 1.69-3.10), but no different for nulliparous women compared to men (33.7% vs. 30.0%, OR 1.19, 0.72-1.96). When only those whose RLS started at or after age 30 were considered, similar differences occurred. These differences were not observed among family members of control probands. Conclusions: These data indicate pregnancy has a major impact on the risk of developing RLS for those with a family history of RLS. This pregnancy effect appears to account for most of the gender differences often reported in overall RLS prevalence data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-313
Number of pages4
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Familial RLS
  • Gender and RLS
  • Pregnancy and RLS
  • RLS
  • RLS prevalence
  • Restless legs syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Pregnancy accounts for most of the gender difference in prevalence of familial RLS'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this