In the second and third trimester, you may notice pain, numbness or a tingly sensation that radiates from deep within your butt and goes down the back of your legs. This is sciatica, and it’s a normal pregnancy symptom to expect.
Pregnant women with sciatica may experience shooting pains or an excruciatingly uncomfortable numbness in their lower back or buttocks. Sometimes, the pain is in the back of their highs. Pregnancy sciatica can be so painful that it limits your mobility. This pregnancy symptom is one of the most uncomfortable.
Causes of Sciatica in Pregnancy
Unlike other pregnancy symptoms (such as morning sickness or “pregnancy brain”), sciatica can exist outside of pregnancy. When sciatic is unrelated to pregnancy, it’s often due to a bulging or herniated disk in the lower part of the spine. On the other hand, pregnancy-related sciatica is caused when your baby’s head presses against your sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve is the long nerve that runs down the spine into the pelvis and upper leg.)
Pregnancy sciatica can occur at any point in pregnancy, and it’s more common to the second and third trimesters, when your developing baby is larger and situated lower in your abdomen.
Sciatica Treatment in Pregnancy
Unfortunately, since this pregnancy symptom is caused by how your baby is situated, there’s not much you can do to relieve your discomfort. However, once your baby shifts his or her position, your sciatica pain disappear as quickly as it arrived.
In the event that sciatica is so severe, your doctor can prescribe pain medication to help you cope. However, it’s always best to stay away from all medications in pregnancy, since any pharmaceuticals that you take will cross the placenta and affect your unborn baby. It’s always best to get relief for sciatica in pregnancy with soft tissue massage, hot and cold compresses to calm the nerve and muscle spasms, and to rest. Getting a prenatal massage may also give you some relief from your sciatica.
There is no cure for sciatica in pregnancy, but experts do recommend that women suffering from this pregnancy symptom engage in a number of healthy exercises that stretch the muscle in your butt (which the sciatic nerve travels through to reach your leg), as well as your calm muscles and the hamstring. These exercises are called “Williams Exercises,” and they are designed to loosen uncomfortable spasms and take pressure off your sciatic muscle.
Some examples of Williams flexion exercises include slow squats and the pelvic tilt.