How to Manage Sciatica During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman with sciatica

Story at-a-glance -

  • Don’t immediately assume that pregnancy can automatically lead to sciatica just because it’s common — it can occur concurrently during pregnancy and is not mutually exclusive
  • Even if you’re pregnant, it’s important for you to remain active to help prevent sciatic pain from worsening. Fortunately, there are exercises available to help you relieve pain without worrying about hurting your child

Lower back pain is estimated to occur in 50 to 80 percent of pregnant women. However, don’t immediately assume that pregnancy can automatically lead to sciatica just because it’s common — it can occur concurrently during pregnancy and is not mutually exclusive. This simply means that sciatica can happen due to reasons unrelated to your pregnancy.1

If you want to know how sciatica can develop without being pregnant, visit the Causes page for more information. That being said, there are a few possible reasons why sciatica may develop during your pregnancy. Some likely situations include:2

Weight gain and increased water retention can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

The expanding uterus may press down on the lower part of the spine, thus affecting the sciatic nerve.

Your growing belly may shift your center of gravity forward, causing your gluteus muscles to tighten and pinch the sciatic nerve.

When your baby shifts their head downward in the third trimester, it can rest directly on your lower back.

The Symptoms of Sciatica During Pregnancy

The indicators of sciatica during pregnancy are very much the same in people who are not pregnant. You may experience pain that starts from your lower back, going down to your thigh and ending at the foot. The severity of the pain depends on how your nerve is currently affected, so it’s possible for it to range anywhere from mild to severe.3

Home Remedies You Can Try to Treat Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica during pregnancy may be treated safely using home remedies. If you’re currently experiencing sciatic pain, you may do any of the following:4

Apply ice packs on the painful area for a few minutes, several times a day. You may also alternate cold packs with hot ones.

Maintain proper posture whenever you’re moving or sitting. Place supportive items such as a rolled towel on your spine whenever you’re about to sit.

Try not to lift heavy items. If possible, ask for help from your family members.

Place pillows between your knees when sleeping on one side.

Safe Exercises You Can Perform to Help With Sciatica

Even if you’re pregnant, it’s important for you to remain active to help prevent sciatic pain from worsening. Fortunately, there are exercises available to help you relieve pain without worrying about hurting your child. A few you can try include:5

Seated Piriformis Stretch: This exercise can help loosen the piriformis muscle, which is located deep in your buttocks. To do this exercise, you will need a chair. Follow these steps:

1. Sit on the chair with your feet flat on the ground.

2. Place the ankle of the affected side to your other knee.

3. Keep this position, slowly lean forward while keeping your back straight. You will feel a stretch on your buttocks.

4. Hold this for spot for 30 seconds, then repeat as necessary throughout the day.

Table Stretch: The table stretch simultaneously targets your hamstrings, buttocks and back muscles. This exercise requires only the edge of a table for support to perform it:

1. Face the edge of a table, then spread your feet slightly wider than your hips.

2. Slowly lean forward and place your hands on the table. Keep your arms straight and your back flat.

3. Pull your hips away from the table, and you will feel a stretch on your lower back and your hamstrings.

4. You can also move your hips left to right to increase the stretch a little more.

5. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute. Perform this exercise twice a day only.

Glute and Hamstring Stretch Using a Foam Roller: A foam roller is an inexpensive product that can help you massage hard-to-reach muscles by yourself. It’s also a good way to help relax tight muscles and connective tissues. To massage your glutes and hamstrings using a foam roller, follow this procedure:

1. Place your foam roller on the ground, then slowly sit on it on the painful areas. Use your hands for support.

2. Cross one foot over the other knee, then slowly move your body back and forth until it massages the affected area.

3. Continue this movement for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Move to another painful area, then repeat for another 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 on the other painful areas.

Visit Your Doctor If You Develop Sciatica During Your Pregnancy

Sciatica will not affect your unborn child; however, it can cause additional discomfort for you. If you develop lower back pain that reaches all the way down your leg, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. Your physician not only will provide you with safe home remedies, but will also inform you as to which exercises are appropriate in the current stage of your pregnancy.

MORE ABOUT SCIATICA

Sciatica: An Introduction

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica Pain Relief

Sciatica Exercises

Sciatica Surgery

Sciatica Prevention

Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica Diet

Sciatica FAQ

< Previous

Sciatica Prevention

Next >

Sciatica Diet

Post your comment
Click Here and be the first to comment on this article