Pregnancy comes with a host of complaints and problems. Growing another human being is serious business. You have to eat right, exercise, lose sleep and go to constant baby appointments… Not to mention the pain of childbirth.
On top of all this, the weight of your baby causes daily aches and pains in your body.
One of the worst and annoying pains you can experience during pregnancy is sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica during pregnancy can range on a pain scale from annoying (a constant, dull ache) to excruciating pain (when you have troubles walking).
Although sciatica during pregnancy can be horrible, it can also be managed. I experienced sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy and it was torture.
But luckily, I found ways to manage and help my sciatica pain during pregnancy. And you can too!
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What Is The Sciatic Nerve?
Sciatic nerve pain is typically called sciatica and it’s a specific type of back pain. The sciatic nerve is connected to the bottom of the spinal cord and extends down in the buttock, thigh and to the foot.
The sciatic nerve serves a major function of connecting the spinal cord to the lower half of your body. I’d say it’s a pretty important nerve!
Normally, sciatica is caused by a compressed spinal disk. However, sciatica symptoms can rear its ugly face without having a compressed or herniated disk. And you guessed it! Sciatica pain can occur during pregnancy.
Why Do You Have Sciatica During Pregnancy?
50 to 80% of women get lower back pain during the duration of their pregnancy. So if you’re having sciatica like symptoms, you’re not alone!
During pregnancy, there is an increase in the hormone called relaxin. This hormone is specifically responsible for relaxing ligaments. Without relaxin, your pelvic area during pregnancy would not stretch and loosen to accommodate your growing baby.
Relaxin is especially helpful for when it comes time to give birth. Without it, birth would be much more painful. Thank you relaxin!
But, with loosened ligaments comes pain with one or multiple muscles in your lower back and buttocks.
Since the sciatic nerve is located under the uterus and extends down to your legs, your growing uterus and baby can put pressure on it. Sciatica during pregnancy is literally a pain in the butt!
Throughout 9 months of pregnancy, sciatica pain will worsen in severity as your due date approaches. Once you give birth, the pressure your baby puts on your sciatic nerve will be released and hopefully the pain will significantly improve.
What Are The Symptoms of Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica during pregnancy is specifically located in the lower back. But, the pain will be felt deep in your buttock and travel down your leg.
In other words, it’s pretty miserable. Here’s a list of specific symptoms associated with sciatica during pregnancy.
- Pain in one or both sides of the butt or leg
- Pain extending from the lower back, down the back of the thigh and continues on to the foot.
- The pain can be a shooting pain, a burning pain or a sharp pain.
- The leg or foot may become numb or have a pins and needles sensation.
- The pain can be constant or felt randomly depending on position.
- The pain can cause problems with sitting, standing or walking.
Be advised: If you are experiencing sciatica during pregnancy that causes you trouble standing and walking, ALWAYS talk to your doctor about the pain! Sciatica pain during pregnancy can become severe enough that it could interfere with your day-to-day activities in your life.
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My Personal Experience With Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy
Once I completed the second trimester and creeped into my third trimester of pregnancy, the baby weight was packing on. It was official… I could no longer see my feet.
With the added weight of the baby, the third trimester became miserable for because of sciatica pain. The sciatica pain first began as a minor nuisance in my left lower back and upper butt.
Then the pain moved from my lower back, deep into my left butt cheek.
Eventually, walking became painful for me! While sciatica pain during pregnancy will subside if you stay off your feet… You can only stay immobile for so long!
All pregnant women dream of having an easy and painless pregnancy and labor. But in reality, this doesn’t happen. Sciatica pain can really interfere with your life and cause you a great amount of pain.
Since most women cannot stay off their feet all the time throughout the day, you need to find solutions to manage your sciatica pain during pregnancy. Luckily, I’ve been through it and survived and so will you!
Let’s look at some pain management resolutions for your sciatica pain.
What You Can Do to Relieve Sciatica Pain
Hot And Cold Therapy
Applying heat to sore muscles and ligaments is a great way to relieve pain. With sciatica pain being deep in my left butt cheek, I applied heat to the lower left back and butt. This helped tremendously!
I applied heat to my lower back for 2o minutes. Then took a little break.
Cold therapy to relieve sciatica during pregnancy can help reduce muscle inflammation around your sciatic nerve to relieve the pressure.
Pregnancy pillows are amazing plush pillows sent from heaven to help relieve pregnancy pain while sleeping. These pillows are full body pillows that accommodate your baby belly.
A pregnancy pillow relieves uncomfortable sciatica pain at night. Allowing you to get some much-needed comfy sleep! Placing a pillow between my legs helped align my pelvis to take the baby weight off my sciatic nerve.
Pregnancy KT Tape
(Pregnancy) KT Tape is also known as Kinesiology Taping used for muscle recovery, pain management and injury prevention. Basically, this tape is incredible!
It comes in cotton and synthetic. Although the cotton is just as comfortable as the synthetic, the synthetic KT Tape stays on longer. I’ve used both and the synthetic stays on for an average of three days. It can even be worn in the shower, bath or pool.
I found the cotton (pregnancy) KT Tape was constantly coming off and didn’t hold up to clothes rubbing against it. So just skip the cotton and go for synthetic.
I used pregnancy KT Tape from mid-second trimester all the way till I gave birth. I put pregnancy KT Tape horizontally across my lower back and ran another stripe of tape down my left butt and thigh. To learn how to apply KT Tape for sciatica click here.
While this may sound uncomfortable, it wasn’t. It was a God send for pain relief. I also occasionally applied pregnancy KT Tape underneath my baby bump to relieve the pressure off my pelvis.
There are many stretches that can accomplish releasing pressure from your sciatic nerve.
Although these stretches do help, sciatica pain located deep in your butt cheek is extremely hard to stretch. Thankfully, I was able to stretch my hips better with a large exercise ball.
A Pregnancy Girdle/Belt
A pregnancy girdle or belt is a quick fix for relieving sciatica during pregnancy. There are many different types of pregnancy girdles, but I used one that had adjustable velcro straps to gain maximum comfort.
Pregnancy belts are not meant to wear all the time, but can be used for extended periods of walking. And I mean walking, no more pregnancy waddle. Although I found my own pregnancy waddle rather cute, the pregnancy belt helped to distribute my baby’s weight evenly to avoid the waddle.
Be advised: Wearing a pregnancy girdle for too long causes a lack of blood circulation, indigestion and heartburn. To avoid these complications, don’t over tighten your pregnancy belt and don’t leave it on for more than 2 to 3 hours.
A Sciatica Seat
This is perfect if your sciatic nerve is compressed while sitting. A sciatica seat helps improve alignment in your spine and improve posture. Most sciatica seats are thick foam or gel cushions that are contoured to alleviate pressure points. Specifically around your sciatic nerve.
Did you know if you talk to your OBGYN about your sciatica pain during pregnancy, he or she can write a prescription for massages? And yes, your insurance will most likely cover the cost if your doctor prescribes massages.
A massage may be just the ticket you need to relieve your sciatica pain. A massage therapist is specifically trained to relieve tension in your muscles. They can even find hard to reach pressure points to ease the stress on your sciatic nerve.
Carrying and growing a baby is hard work! Give yourself a break from the stress and sciatica pain during pregnancy by getting an occasional massage.
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Sciatica during pregnancy is a nightmare! From the second trimester all the way till you give birth, sciatica symptoms can plague you. Once the baby is no longer resting on your sciatic nerve, your pain should ease.
I know firsthand that the sciatic nerve can really hinder your day-to-day activities. Depending on my son’s position, my sciatica pain would worsen some days to the point that I could barely walk. I experienced shooting pain staring in my left butt cheek all the way down my leg. And it hurt with every step I took.
If you’re experiencing sciatica pain during pregnancy, there are many at-home remedies to relieve the pain.
But always remember to discuss these options with your healthcare provider. Your doctor may be able to suggest better treatment options for your specific needs.
Such at home treatment options like…
Using a pregnancy girdle/belt
Sitting on a sciatica seat
Using (pregnancy) KT Tape
Sleeping with a pregnancy pillow
And applying hot and cold therapy
These can all help to reduce swelling, pressure and pain around your sciatic nerve. If these at home treatments don’t work, talk to your doctor about massage therapy.
If you’ve never had sciatica pain before pregnancy, this is a new type of pain for you that can be extremely bothersome. But it’s important to remember that this pain is temporary!
When your baby repositions in the womb or after you give birth, the pressure located along your sciatic nerve will ease. As will the many symptoms associated with sciatica pain during pregnancy.
I know it’s a tough, horrible symptom of pregnancy.
But you’re tough too mama! That sciatica pain will be gone in no time at the end of your pregnancy and you’ll forget all about it!
Just try the at home treatments listed above to reduce the pain along your sciatic nerve. My first line of defense for sciatica pain is pregnancy kt tape and a ton of stretching!