Lots of things can be a nerve pain in the buttocks during pregnancy, but none quite so literally as sciatica. Whether you are reading this in your early pregnancy, second trimester, or third trimester… if you feel as if you can hardly walk, you’re not alone. Between 50 and 80 percent of women have back pain in pregnancy.
What Causes Such Unbearable Sciatic Pain With Pregnancy?
“Sciatica” is a term typically used to describe pain in the lower back that travels down to your leg and/or hip. It is a kind of nerve pain that is often caused by a bulging or herniated disc in the spine. However, sciatica during pregnancy is not usually caused by injury to the spine.
Sciatica in early pregnancy is not as common, but sciatica during the second and third trimester of pregnancy usually happen as a result of the changes a mother’s body goes through to accommodate her growing baby. You may experience sciatica symptoms while expecting that are brought on by unstable joints in your pelvis, muscle tension, and pressure on the sciatic nerve from your baby’s ever-increasing weight. Changes in the way that you walk (aka the dreaded “waddle”) can also cause pain.
Symptoms of sciatica during pregnancy may show up anywhere along the pathway of your sciatic nerve bundle, which is a collection of nerve fibers that is about as thick as your pinky finger that spans from your lower back down to your big toe. Sciatica pain while pregnant can feel like:
- Dull soreness
- Stabbing pain
- ‘Electric shock’
Did you find this article by frantically Googling, “How to get rid of sciatic nerve pain while pregnant?” You’re in luck.
Here’s the Gabrialla team’s shortlist of suggestions for pregnancy sciatica relief:
Do Some Soft Stretches
You don’t have to be a yogi to do stretches for sciatica pain during your pregnancy. The simplest stretch you can do is called the seated piriformis stretch. This stretch is great if you’re having nerve pain in your buttocks during pregnancy, since it targets the piriformis muscle located there. (When the piriformis muscle is tight, as is common for expectant mothers, it can irritate your sciatic nerve.) To do it:
Sit comfortably in a sturdy chair.
- Put the ankle of your affected side on the opposite knee.
- Slowly lean forward, keeping your back straight.
- Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side and throughout the day, as necessary.
Table stretches, pigeon pose, hamstring foam and hip stretches are also the best stretches for sciatic pain during pregnancy.
Send Yourself On a Shopping Spree
No doubt, you’ve been busy buying plenty of odds and ends for the nursery, lately. Don’t forget to treat yourself, too! A Breathable Medium Support maternity belt works great for providing gentle compression of the affected area and shifting all of that pressure off of your lower back - perfect for sciatica pain relief in pregnancy. Other benefits of a well-made maternity support belt include:
- Better balance
- Improved posture
- The ability to stay more active
- Reduced stretch marks
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to choosing the right maternity belt, check out this article from the Gabrialla blog.
Go For A Spin
If the weight of your baby is causing you pain, try going for a spin - not in your car, though! Low-impact exercises, such as walking, yoga, and spinning, are reported to be quite helpful for pregnancy sciatica relief. Being more active is probably the last thing you feel like doing while in pain, but inactivity is actually a risk factor for sciatic nerve pain.
React With Rest
While exercise is a great way to reduce joint and sciatic pain during pregnancy, the moment you feel shooting, stabbing pain down the side of your leg is NOT the moment to begin a new workout routine. When experiencing any kind of pain, please let your body rest for a while to recover. Some over the counter medications and other home remedies may help ease sciatic nerve pain, but be sure to get your doctor’s clearance before taking any new medications since not all OTC pain relievers are safe for use during pregnancy.
Pregnancy changes your body in ways that you may never have imagined. All of the stretching and growing gets uncomfortable from time to time, but it doesn’t have to hurt. When it comes to sciatica in pregnancy, you can count on Gabrialla for the support you need.