Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy is actually very common. Most pregnant women experience at least one episode of sciatic pain during their pregnancy. Sadly, this nerve pain, which is sometimes diagnosed as sciatica, is another annoying ache and pain you may have to deal with while pregnant. Good news is, there are some remedies you can try to help ease discomfort.
During pregnancy, levels of the hormone relaxin increase. This hormone helps prepare your pelvis for childbirth by relaxing ligaments and widening your hips. As your belly grows and ligaments loosen, your center of gravity shifts, which can cause the sciatic nerve to get pinched or irritated.
When this nerve gets irritated, it can cause a shooting pain sensation down the buttocks and back of the legs. It makes daily movement and sitting quite uncomfortable. Other signs of sciatica include a sharp pain on either side of the buttocks, numbness down your legs, or sharp lower back pain that increases upon sitting.
There’s technically nothing that can completely cure sciatica, other than giving birth itself. However, here are some stretches and remedies to help give you some relief.
This pose targets the hip rotator and flexor muscles.
Sciatic pain is helped by poses that passively stretch the hip with the thigh externally rotated.
This exercise opens the spine and relieves your hips of the weight from the baby.
This stretch really helps your hip flexors. Try a modified warrior two version with one knee on the mat.
Table stretch – Stand facing a table with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Lean forward with your hands on the table. Keep your arms straight and your back flat. Pull your hips away from the table until you feel a nice stretch in the lower back and back of the legs.
Pigeon pose in a chair – This pose specifically targets the piriformis muscle. Try to find a chair in which you can sit comfortably with both feet flat on the floor and your thighs roughly parallel to the floor. Place your right ankle near your left knee and try to relax your right knee toward the floor. Repeat on the left side.
Foam rolling your tight muscles or booking a prenatal massage may help ease your pain. Be sure and explain the pain you are experiencing to your therapist. Please note: It may be required you bring a doctor’s note clearing you for your massage. Check with your doctor before you book.
Try applying heat to the area where you are experiencing the most pain. Although it may just be temporary relief, it may help with your soreness. Be sure not to apply a heating pad directly on your belly for a long period of time.
Some women swear by pregnancy girdles for sciatic nerve pain. The girdle helps evenly distribute your pregnancy weight and can help with your posture.
The good news is that many pregnancy side effects, including sciatic nerve pain will go away after pregnancy. Hang in there mamma!
If you have more questions about your sciatic nerve pain, speak with your Walnut Hill OBGYN physician.