Ease Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

Ease Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

pregnant woman stretching

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.

What causes sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy?

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.

What does sciatic nerve pain feel like?

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.

Remedies to help ease your sciatic pain

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. 

Sciatica stretches

1.Pigeon pose

pregnant woman doing pigeon pose

This pose targets the hip rotator and flexor muscles.

  • Place your hands and knees on the floor.
  • Gently slide your right knee forward so it’s between your hands.
  • Slide your left leg back, keeping your foot faced up on the floor.
  • Place a yoga block or rolled towel under your right hip. This will make the stretch easier and make room for your belly. Repeat for opposite leg.

2. Bound angle pose

Sciatic pain is helped by poses that passively stretch the hip with the thigh externally rotated.

  • Sit with your legs straight out in front of you, raising your pelvis on a blanket if your hips or groin are tight.
  • Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together.

3. Child’s pose (wide)

child's pose pregnancy

This exercise opens the spine and relieves your hips of the weight from the baby.

  • With your face to the ground, slightly part your feet, with your toes to the ground and feet upwards.
  • Stretch out both arms as far as possible until you feel a nice stretch.
  • Make sure your big toes are touching each other.
  • Nestle your tummy between your thighs.
  • Gently lower yourself face down to the ground with your arms outstretched.

4. Modified warrior two pose/hip flexor stretch

warrior-pose-pregnancy

This stretch really helps your hip flexors. Try a modified warrior two version with one knee on the mat.

  • Kneel on the floor on your hands and knees.
  • Step one foot in front of you so that your hip and knee are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your back hip and leg.

Other sciatica stretches include:

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.

Sciatica massage

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.

Applying heat

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.

Pregnancy girdle

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.