Thursday, August 11, 2022

How Do You Relieve Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy

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Brittany L. Bergman

Most of us would admit to experiencing frantic, middle-of-the-night thoughts while we were pregnant in which we questioned our choice to become parents, or wondered whether we’d still be the same person after becoming a mom. Those of us who planned on pursuing careers after giving birth might also have agonized over whether we would be as committed to our jobs.

When singer and songwriter was pregnant, a fan expressed this worry for her, wondering whether Palmer’s career would suffer after she became a mom. She was concerned that the artist wouldn’t be able to produce songs of the same standard. “When you have this baby,” she argued, “either him/her/it will suffer, or your career will suffer.”

In her response via an open letter on Medium, Palmer expressed her own nervousness about her possible “loss of identity as an artist” when she becomes a mother. She wrote about concerns that had plagued her when she was deciding whether to have a child: “If I had kids,” she mused, “would I turn into a boring, irrelevant, ignorable artist? Would I suddenly start writing songs about balance…? Would I become that annoying person who is so enthralled with their child that it’s impossible to have an intelligent conversation with them about art because they’d rather show you iPhone photos of their kid drooling out a spoonful of mashed carrots?”

How Does Physical Therapy Help Relieve Sciatica Pain Immediately During Pregnancy

As your pregnancy hormones course through your body, one side effect is loosening joints. If your hip and pelvic muscles are not strong enough to support the increasing load, the surrounding muscles compensate and often spasm. These spasms can put extra pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing sciatic symptoms.

“Unlike muscles, you can’t stretch nerves. They’re like pieces of rope. When they’re tight in one place, you have to loosen them elsewhere to give the nerve mobility.â€?

Put simply, to get immediate sciatica pain relief during pregnancy, you’re going to have to loosen the nerve.  From there, it’s important to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Strengthening the core, glutes, pelvic girdle, and pelvic floor helps your body make room and adjust to the increased load of pregnancy. For most women, physical therapy can help to stabilize the joints that have been loosened by pregnancy hormones. Sciatica pain relief will improve right away and increase within the first 7-14 days. If after 4 weeks the pain is not getting better, that’s a sign to re-evaluate the treatment plan.

The good news, sciatica during pregnancy is rarely forever. That said, moving your body consistently to prevent any flare-ups down the road is key.

Our team of expert physical therapists compiled 17 stretches and exercises that are safe for pregnancy and clinically proven to relieve sciatica pain from standing, sitting, in bed, or even lying on the floor.

Sciatica Pain Relief During Pregnancy Starts With An Actual Sciatica Diagnosis

If in fact the shooting pain down your leg is sciatica–you’d fall into the 1 percent of women that need sciatica pain relief during pregnancy.

However, that pain in your lower back may not actually be sciatica.

“A lot of people come to physical therapy with a prescription while they’re pregnant for any sort of back or hip pain and it’s assumed to be sciatica. That’s why the most important thing to do during a virtual examination with a new patient is confirm a sciatica diagnosis so the treatment plan addresses the true root cause.�

While sciatica during pregnancy may be rare, that lower back pain you’re experiencing is extremely common–and treatable! Between 50 and 80 percent of pregnant people experience lower back or even shooting pain in the third trimester. Symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction or piriformis syndrome–the pain in your low back or hip due to too much or too little movement in joints of your pelvis–can feel like sciatica but aren’t.

The first step to feeling better is getting the right diagnosis. It’s critical to first rule out other common causes of hip pain during pregnancy during an in-person or virtual physical therapy evaluation to confirm a true sciatica diagnosis.

�More on Motherly about sciatica during pregnancy, MRIs, and other frequently asked questions.

Sarah Key’s 7 Of The Best Stretching Exercises For Sciatica During Pregnancy

As a rule, women who have suffered previous lower back problems are no more susceptible to sciatica during pregnancy than anyone else, and this should reassure all would-be mothers who are fearful that pregnancy. The following are 7 of the best stretching exercises for sciatica during pregnancy. 

With sciatica, the pain may extend to the buttock only, in patches down the leg, the heel, under the foot, or all the way through the leg. Sciatica during pregnancy is either caused by inflammation of the lower lumbar facet joints, or by the growing baby lying heavily upon the sciatic nerve inside the pelvis. Of the two, the latter is the least problematic. Pregnancy sciatica however, is a little more serious than simple lower back pain during pregnancy.

Sciatic pain in the leg can vary in both intensity and distribution. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a dull ache in the buttock, or a nagging drag in the calf that feels like a sprained muscle. At other times, it feels like a throbbing ache right through the leg, sometimes associated with pins and needles and numbness of the foot or heel. Broadly speaking, the more severe the pain and the greater the distance the pain is felt down the leg, the more serious the problem in the back. You may like to read more in depth here about the causes of lower back pain in pregnancy


1. Child Pose

6. Advanced Sciatic Nerve Stretches

7. The BackBlock Routine

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Know About Sciatic Nerve Pain during Pregnancy

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You’re Likely Too Tired To Have Sex But Also Too Hormonal To Want It

You’re probably exhausted. Maybe you feel sore—and sex isn’t pleasurable at the moment. Maybe you’re worried about changes to your body or getting pregnant again. Or maybe you’re just touched out and feel like the only thing you have control over is your body.

But underneath all of these perfectly legitimate reasons is a current of raging and waning hormones that have an even more powerful impact on your sex drive.

When you’re pregnant, the levels of your reproductive hormones are at time 1000 times higher than when you are not pregnant. And once you give birth, those hormones come crashing down to menopausal levels. The low estrogen that results can cause uncomfortable vaginal dryness—especially if you are breastfeeding—and a loss of sex drive.

This is how evolution ensures that you “don’t want it” while you are healing and investing your energy into keeping your new baby alive before you start to work on the next.

What Is Pelvic Girdle Pain In Pregnancy And How Do I Relieve It

If you feel a sharp pain in your pelvis when you dress, shift in bed or sit for long periods, you might have pelvic girdle pain. Here’s what you need to know.

July 30, 2020

Illustration: iStock/Olha Khorimarko

Carrying an extra load all in one place may have a whole host of side effects that you never considered. It will probably cause you to move differently; it may throw your muscles and joints out of whack; and, in some women, it will create pain in the pelvis where none existed before. This is commonly called pelvic girdle pain, and there’s no need to white-knuckle through the discomfort. In fact, there’s plenty you can do to ease your symptoms.

Sciatica During Pregnancy: What Expectant Mothers Need To Know

Hip pain or numbness in the legs can happen as your baby grows during pregnancy. Find out what causes it and how to feel better.

If you’re experiencing pain in your buttocks or legs, your baby might be lying on your sciatic nerve. This condition, called sciatica, is relatively common while expecting, and it’s usually not cause for concern. Here’s what you need to know about sciatica during pregnancy, with tips for relieving the pain. 

Effective Stretches For Sciatic Pain Relief During Pregnancy:

Performing regular exercises and yoga stretches help manage the pain by strengthening your spine, hips, pelvic floor, stomach, and back. Yoga helps to correct your posture and enables stretching. In case you have persistent sciatica, you need to continue the exercises even after delivery. The generally recommended exercises include:

How To Sleep With Sciatica Best Sciatica Sleeping Positions

If you have chronic lower back pain or sciatica, you must often wonder, how to sleep with sciatica? What is the best position to sleep with sciatica? Is there any sciatica sleep position that you should avoid?

Well, sleeping with sciatica is not easy. You will either wake up due to pain or will not fall asleep in the first place

Did you know, around 55% of people with sciatica/chronic lower back pain find it hard to sleep? That’s true!

Finding the best way to sleep with sciatica is a daunting experience. Hence, sciatica can terribly affect sleep quality.

However, when there is a will, there is a way! Right? All you have to do is to learn how to sleep with sciatica. Things will become easier thereafter.

Let’s learn how to sleep with sciatic pain!

Stretching Exercises For Less Severe Sciatica In Pregnancy

Stretching Exercise for Sciatica During Pregnancy no 5. Curl Downs

Curl downs and any sort of bending still suffer from a bad name in back treating circles; the legacy of a medical era that focused upon discs slipping and other simplistic notions of back pain. This has particularly unfortunate consequences for young mothers who then find it practically impossible to lift their baby properly.

You will see multifarious discourses on bending in this website. You will read that bending normally ‘gives the discs a drink’ and is a necessary part of keeping a back healthy. During pregnancy bending is particularly important; the natural to-and-fro of bending disengaging the facet joints from the over-arched pregnancy posture that has contributed to the sciatica during pregnancy.

If you haven’t been bending properly for a while the deep spinal muscles that control segmental stability will be weak and you will feel insecure. So, you must start carefully; if necessary using your hands to ‘walk down your legs’. Prepare for going down by first pulling your tummy in hard to act as a strong retaining wall at the front of the spine and gently lowering yourself down.

You need to be careful starting curl downs.  You must only commence when the leg pain is almost non-existent. Be prepared that your sciatica may temporarily increase for a day or so after starting this exercise. 

Stretching Exercise For Sciatica During Pregnancy no 6. Advanced Sciatic Nerve Stretches

Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy: Causes And Treatment

The sciatic nerve runs under your uterus to your legs. Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy is thought to be associated with pressure on the nerve caused by the developing baby.The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, providing a sensory and motor function to the lower extremities. This nerve provides sensation to the back of the thigh, the lower part of the leg and the sole of the foot. Sciatic nerve pain is a periodic severe pain that occurs throughout your legs.

Severe Motor Deficits Require Immediate Medical Attention

3 Exercises to Reduce Sciatic Nerve Pain During Your Pregnancy

Fewer than 2% of pregnant women with herniated discs may develop cauda equina syndrome, a medical emergency that causes severe neurological deficits.1 Common symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include severe weakness and numbness in both legs, loss of sensation in the groin and pubic area, and decreased or complete loss of bowel and/or bladder movements.1 Cauda equina syndrome must be treated immediately to preserve leg function.

See When Sciatica Pain Is a Medical Emergency

Sciatica and back pain symptoms should always be addressed as quickly as possible and managed throughout the course of pregnancy. While sciatica is not a common occurrence in pregnant women, it is possible, and a good understanding of the underlying cause can help manage the symptoms and prevent recurrences.

Did I Do Anything Wrong To Get Sciatica During Pregnancy

Nope, it’s often just a fact of life—it occurs as a direct result of an increased load on the front of your body.

This leads to great pressure through the spine and discs. If you have a very small, usually harmless disc bulge, it could be pushed towards the sciatic nerve, causing the sciatic symptoms.

However, there are still some measures you can take while pregnant to ease your pain and improve your symptoms.

Immediate Action Required: Go To A&e Or Call 999 If You:

  • have sciatica on both sides
  • have weakness or numbness in both legs that’s severe or getting worse
  • have numbness around or under your genitals, or around your bottom
  • find it hard to start peeing, cannot pee or cannot control when you pee – and this is not normal for you
  • do not notice when you need to poo or cannot control when you poo – and this is not normal for you

These could be symptoms of a serious back problem that needs to be treated in hospital as soon as possible.

How Do I Alleviate Sciatica Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

In effect, there are several different side effects of pregnancy, one of which is sciatica and/or back pain during pregnancy. Sadly, sciatica does distress a lot of women during pregnancy often, despite all that it is not merely a pregnancy related problem certainly.

Sciatica is a concept that refers to discomfort produced by pressure on and/or inflammation of one or more nerves exiting the lower area of the spine that comprise the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a set of conditions including discomfort that can be but not always created by pressure on and/or inflammation of one of five nerve roots related to the sciatic nerve, or by pressure on or irritation of the sciatic nerve itself. Essentially, the sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs from the lower back to the back of the legs and feet. In essence, this nerve allows for sensation in the muscles of the legs and feet. In general, when the sciatic nerve becomes gets aggravated from force in the back or trauma to the back and when this comes about back pain and sciatica sufferers suffer from sciatic pain. Again and again chronic compression on the sciatic nerve may produce weakness in the leg or surrounding areas, numbness or even tingling. Many women describe the feeling as similar to the sensation of pins and needles you get when your leg falls asleep. Bear in mind, the seriousness of pregnancy back pain may vary in separate women.

What Is The Relationship Between Sciatica And Pregnancy

There are a number of reasons why sciatica and pregnancy are connected.

  • During pregnancy, you put on more weight and retain more fluids, all of which can place additional stress on the sciatic nerve.
  • As the uterus expands, it may press upon the sciatic nerve, causing further pain and discomfort.
  • As your belly and breasts grow, your center of gravity shifts; this may result in your buttock and pelvic muscles pinching the sciatic nerve.
  • It’s also common for the baby’s head to rest directly on top of the sciatic nerve, particularly as the third trimester begins.

Indeed, it’s worth noting that sciatica pain tends to occur in the final three months of the pregnancy, as the baby moves into the birth position and places additional strain on the sciatica nerve.

How Do You Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

Sep 09, 2020

The last thing you want to endure is sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. While pregnant, you’ll deal with insomnia, stress, chemical imbalances, and much more. So, debilitating pain isn’t necessarily doing you any favors.

Whether you’ve experienced sciatica prior to your pregnancy or this is your first flare up, you’re seeking answers. You’re probably wondering what causes sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy, and maybe even whether sciatica can harm the baby. You probably also want to know how long it will last, along with any advice on how to relieve sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy.

Throughout the remainder of this article, we will answer all this and more. Let’s start with a textbook definition of what sciatica is, for those who aren’t as familiar.

What’s The Best Way To Treat Sciatica During Pregnancy

First, talk to your provider and get their recommendations. With their approval, try these four remedies:

1. Wear a pregnancy girdle

It might sound uncomfortable, but a can actually lift your bump and distribute the weight of your tummy more evenly. This will have the effect of taking the pressure off the spine, and that could help ease your sciatica.

2. Rest, rest, rest

Although I said it’s important to stay active even when suffering from sciatica during pregnancy, it’s important to get your down-time, too, as suffering from a painful problem can make you stressed and tired.

Try having a lay down on your side, lying on the side of your non-painful leg.

3. Try hot or cold therapy

Cold as a treatment for can be effective pain, stress and inflammation management. The question I most commonly get asked about this is: “If sciatica is coming from my back, should I put the cold on my back or leg?”

The answer is: whatever suits you, but I would begin with the back.

Here’s why:

  • Your back will likely be tight and sore when suffering from sciatica during pregnancy. The cold compress will help to dull the pain.
  • The direct cold treatment may help to ease inflammation around the problematic nerve in the spine.
  • Your back is a central part of your body—treating a central area of the body will have a global pain-relieving effect on the entire body.

4. Stretch the buttock on just the non-painful side

What Are Ways To Relieve Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy

While sciatica can lead to significant pregnancy pain and discomfort, there are some practical ways to address it.

Sleep on your side. Sciatica tends to worsen over night, and is often especially bad in the morning, because you place so much strain on the sciatic nerve when you lay down to sleep. Sleeping on your side will generally eliminate that strain, allowing you to sleep more comfortably. Naturally, you’ll want to sleep on your pain-free side.

Use pillows. By placing a pillow or two under your legs or back, you can elevate your lower back and pelvis and limit the pressure on your sciatic nerve. Experiment with different pillow placements that offer you some extra back support.

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Am I At Risk Of Having Pelvic Girdle Pain In Pregnancy

“We can’t isolate which people are going to get pelvic girdle pain,” says Carolyn Cossenas, another physiotherapist at BC Women’s. But there are a few factors that may increase your risk:

  • Previous births
  • Joint hypermobility
  • Increased BMI
  • A history of hip or low back pain
  • Prior trauma to your back or pelvis

If It’s Not Sciatica It Could Be Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Your doctor will want to rule out sacroiliac joint pain, which is also common in pregnancy. This discomfort is characterized by pain in the SI joint region, the pelvic area where the sacrum connects to the right and left iliac bones. The iliac bones are the large, wing-like bones that form the upper portion of the pelvis.

Pregnant women often experience pain in the SI joint because of the natural loosening of the pelvic ligaments and tendons to prepare the body for childbirth.

This relaxing of the ligaments and tendons creates more pelvic movement and less stability, which is ideal for delivery but can also result in a deep, radiating ache in the pelvic region.

SI joint pain tends to occur in the buttock, hip, groin, and back of the thigh but does not extend below the knee. In contrast, sciatica discomfort often radiates all the way down to the toes.

Exercises that promote core and lumbar stability can help to reduce SI joint pain during pregnancy, which usually resolves after the postpartum period.

Your doctor may do a physical exam that will help discern whether the discomfort you feel is due to sciatica, SI joint pain, or another issue. Additionally, they can provide suggestions for finding relief.

What You Need To Know About Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica will most likely occur during the third trimester, when both you and your baby are bulking up . Most women typically experience pain just on one side, though you may feel it in both legs.

Sciatica can be constant or intermittent, depending on the amount of pressure placed on the nerve. Pain may increase as you put on more weight and retain more fluid.

And it can stick around for a few months or so after you’ve given birth, until you’ve shed the excess weight and fluid pressing on the nerve.

Best Pregnancy Pillows For Sciatica Pain 2020 Reviews

Sciatica is another type of pain it may occur due to inflammation or pressure from your back makes your sciatic nerve pain. The sciatica is not caused by your baby pressing on a nerve. It is most often caused by damage to a disc in your spine leading to swelling around the nerve. Sciatica is the longest nerve in the human body and this pain comes when you feel irritation of the sciatic nerve. Most commonly this pain caused by the compressed nerve in the lower spine. It is the longest nerve in the human body that runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the legs, ending just below the knee.

Quick Links

  • Can Sciatica in Pregnancy Harm the Baby?
  • How To Treat Sciatica During Pregnancy And Postpartum

    Dealing with sciatica during pregnancy can be a challenging and  painful experience. It can also be challenging to experience postpartum sciatica. If you’re unfamiliar with exactly what your Sciatica is, it’s a large nerve that runs from your lower back all the way down your legs. When your sciatic nerve is injured it causes lower back pain as well as pain in your hips, buttocks, thighs, and feet. Although mild sciatica pain during pregnancy is usually not a major concern, if the pain becomes unbearable you should consult your doctor. If you’re experiencing the same during postpartum and its unbearable, don’t tough it out.

    These are some symptoms to look out for:

    • occasional or constant pain in one side of your buttocks or leg

    • pain along the sciatic nerve path, from the buttocks down the back of your thigh and to the foot

    • sharp, shooting, or burning pain

    • numbness, or weakness in the affected leg or foot

    • difficulty walking, standing, or sitting

    If you experience any or all of these. Here are some natural ways you can treat sciatica pain during pregnancy and postpartum.


    Get ready for your massage with our postpartum massage oil, it’s perfect for sciatica pain relief during pregnancy and postpartum. You don’t need to wait until you see a masseuse to get started. Our oil is great for a quick at home massage when the pain kicks up during and after pregnancy or postpartum

    Cold and Hot Packs

    Essential Oil


    Exercise Stretches

    1.  Seated Squats

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