Sciatic nerve pain is one of those things no one mentions about pregnancy but 50-80% of women will experience some type of back and hip pain during pregnancy.
For some, the pain may start at 25 weeks in the first pregnancy, and earlier in each subsequent pregnancy.
What is Sciatic Nerve Pain
Pain in the sciatic nerve is also called sciatica. This pain is caused by a pinched or inflamed sciatic nerve or the surrounding area and is typically felt as a pinching or burning in your lower back, or hips. The pain can travel down your leg or into your buttock. It usually only affects one side of the body. Pregnant women are susceptible to this pain for a few reasons. One is because of their growing uterus that can push on nerves. Another is the ligaments in their body naturally soften and stretch to prepare for labor. This can put a strain on the joints of their lower back and pelvis causing pain and irritated nerves.
While it is common, it should not be considered normal. Just because a pregnant woman can live with the pain does not mean she has to! Here are a few things to do to help with the pain of sciatica.
How to Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain
There are a number of things that can be done to support the sciatic nerve and relieve pain. Depending on how pregnant you are and what position you can comfortably get into, these stretches might help alleviate some of the discomfort.
Seeing a pelvic floor therapist might also help! Not only will they manually manipulate the nerve and surrounding areas, but they might also guide you through some easy moves to strengthen the affected area. Those moves might be leg lifts or “marching” while sitting on a yoga ball, or hip circles while sitting on a yoga ball.
A chiropractic adjustment is a good way to relieve low back pain while pregnant. They can help to realign your spine and hips, taking pressure off of the sciatic nerve that is causing the pain.
Other Support for Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sometimes the pain is merely due to the weight that your core is not used to supporting. There are some things that can help to take the weight off of your pelvis and relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerves.
Also known as K-tape, this is used by athletes all over the world to support joints and muscles while maintaining range of motion. K-tape can be easily applied by a physical therapist, yourself or your partner at home. It’s non-evasive and has very minimal risks. There are many application patterns that you can find online that will help lift and support the belly or take pressure off your back. It might require you to try a few configurations before you find the one you love! Try searching Google for “K-tape while pregnant” or “K-tape for sciatic support.”
A support belt
Pregnancy support belts come in all shapes and sizes from super fancy to something as simple as a stretchy ring to add a little extra pressure to your waistband. Even a pair a maternity leggings with built in support can help alleviate some of the pain you might be feeling.
Remember, pain is our body’s way of signaling that something is off. Even if the pain is not debilitating, it should be addressed and not dismissed as normal, even in pregnancy.
*This is not medical advice and should be considered responsibly. If you are unsure what is right for you, talk with your prenatal care provider*