Sciatica During Pregnancy

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You’re well on your way through your pregnancy. You knew to expect the morning sickness, frequent urination, and even the fatigue. One thing you didn’t expect to deal with is sciatic pain. Ouch!

For those of you who don’t know, your sciatic nerve runs down your lower back and into your leg. If this is irritated/pinched it can cause numbness, burning, or tingling down the leg. It can be uncomfortable to deal with, but over all is nothing to worry about (unless the pain becomes so bad you can’t stand it).

There are a number of factors that can cause this nerve to be pinched. Some of these are: weight gain, water retention, uterine expansion and poor posture (due to your growing belly and breasts), and even your baby’s position can lead to a flare up. Sciatica is most noticeable during the third trimester, but that doesn’t mean it can’t start earlier than that.

There are a few things you can do to help alleviate this pain, but it may not go away completely until your baby arrives.

– Try to gain weight slowly. During pregnancy, there is a certain amount of weight you should be gaining to be considered in the normal range. Trying to eat healthy and aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days to keep extra pounds off.

– Take breaks, and get off your feet periodically. If you are on your feet a lot, it can cause extra stress on your nerves and joints. Take a seat and kick your feet up for a bit if you are able.

– Avoid lifting heavy objects. You shouldn’t be lifting anything too heavy during pregnancy anyway, but this is a good rule of thumb, especially if you actually lift with your back and not your legs.

– Wear a pregnancy belt when your bump begins to protrude. This is great not only for sciatica, but also if you have a sore lower back (who doesn’t when you’re carrying around a watermelon).

– Use a heating pad to help relax your muscles. Make sure not to put the setting on too high, but it can help relax your muscles and take some pressure off the nerves.

– Ask your practitioner for more ways to help. They deal with these symptoms all the time and will be able to steer you in the right direction to help with some of the discomfort.