Sciatic Pain Pregnancy

7 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

sciatic pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy is that phase in a woman’s life that is characterized by a lot of difficulties and pain for some while smoother for others. Headaches, nausea, morning sickness, aversions, cravings, weepiness, irritability, are a few of them. But the most common of them all and the most disturbing is sciatic pain. During pregnancy, the sciatic nerve gets affected due to changes in the body size and shape, and the uterus puts additional pressure on it, making the situation worsen.

Let us know to get a better insight about sciatica pain, its causes, the conditions under which it worsens, how to get relief from the pain, how to put a stop to it if it happens at night.

In This Article

What Is Sciatica In Pregnancy?

Sciatica is even referred to as a lumbosacral radicular syndrome. This happens as a result of the irritation that happens in the sciatic nerve. It is a nerve that initiates in the lower portion of the spine and goes to the thighs. This can even lead to pains in the hips and also thighs.  Sciatic pain is characterized by acute or prickly back pain, pain that initiates from the hips and moves down to the back portion of the legs. It can also be intense, pricking, and numbing pain that eases out with a proper cure.

What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy?

Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

Bulging or issues with the lumbar spine results in sciatic pain. This can also be the result of changes in the bone structure, narrowing of the spine, rupturing of the disc, or an ailment related to the spine, all such situations, stress on the sciatic nerve results in acute back pain which is very common for most of the pregnant ladies.

Sciatic pain also happens due to a few reasons below as well:

  • Tension in the muscles or joints
  • Pain in the pelvic bone
  • Joint pains
  • Pain in the buttock muscles

All this is the result of the increase in Relaxin, which is a pregnancy hormone that tends the ligaments to stretch and loosen in the pelvic structure. The additional baby weight also makes it more painful as it puts pressure on the hips and the pelvis and the sciatic nerve.

 Symptoms Of Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy

Sciatica is not a very common one, but the ones who experience it, describe it as a very intense one. Its symptoms consist of the following:

  • Consistent pain in either side of the legs or buttocks
  • Shooting and acute pain
  • The feeling of being numb or having weak legs and foot
  • Problems with standing, sitting, walking, or jumping
  • Pain that starts from the hips and goes to the thighs

Does Pregnancy-Sciatica Go Away?

Sciatica is an acute pain that exudes from the hips to the rear side of the leg. The sciatica is supposed to disappear as soon as one delivers the baby. But in some instances, it may continue to appear during the initial days after delivery and then eventually vanishes.

How Do You Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy?

Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy

Sciatic nerve pain can be painful even though it is not very common, but et very acute when it happens.
This pain can be treated by the following methods as below:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Chiropractic care
  • Exercises to stretch the leg muscles
  • Exercises that help to reduce the pressure that is exerted on the sciatic nerve.
  • Few women also find swimming to be very good as the water assists in supporting the weight of the baby.
  • Sleep on the side that has less pain
  • Do not sleep for a longer duration
  • Keep taking small breaks during the day that will enhance blood circulation.
  • Sitting for a longer duration tends to increase or worsen the pain.
  • Take small naps within the day.
  • Be comfortable with the footwear as it helps to relieve pressure from the back.

Five Exercises to Alleviate Discomfort Due to Sciatic Pain

Exercises to Alleviate Discomfort Due to Sciatic Pain

One can even try the following five exercises to alleviate discomfort and pain:

1.    The Piriformis Stretch

One can relieve the muscle tightness with this stretch and can help to reduce sciatic pain. Follow the steps below to do this stretch:

  • Keep the feel flat and sit on a chair
  • In case the left portion is in pain, keep the left ankle over the right knee
  • Keep the back straight and bend forward so that a stretch is felt in the hips.
  • Keep it for 30 seconds and repeat within the day

2.    The Table Stretch

This stretch helps the back muscles, hips, and the rear portion of the legs.

  • For this, one needs to stand with feet width apart from hips, facing the table
  • Now move forward, keeping hands down, arms to be straight, and back to be flat.
  • Pull back the hips to feel the stretch in the back portion of the legs as well as the hips
  • Keep this for about a minute and repeat twice daily.

3.    Pigeon Pose

One can get relief from the sciatic pain from this famous pose of yoga, so following the steps below will help the pregnant woman.

  • Get down on the knees and hands.
  • Slide the right knee so that it lies in between the hands.
  • Now slide the left leg at the back, but the foot should be on the floor.
  • Keep the yoga mat or block underneath the right side of the hip. This will allow the stretch to be smooth.
  • Bend in the front on the right leg side
  • Now bend gradually touching the ground by placing a pillow underneath the arms and head.
  • Keep for a minute and repeat on both sides.
  • Keep repeating several times a day

4.    Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors are those muscles that lie in the front portion of the hips and help with the movement of the leg while walking or jumping. Having tight hip flexors at the time of pregnancy can affect the posture, the pelvic arrangement, etc., which results in pain.
Following are the steps to do this stretch

  • One needs to kneel on knees and hands.
  • Keep one foot on the front such that the knee and hip are at an angle of 90 degrees.
  • Push yourself a bit in front so that the leg and the back-hip can feel the stretch.
  • Keep it for about 40 seconds and repeat again.

5. Glute and Hamstring Foam Rolling

This stretch uses a foam roller that is helpful in massaging the muscles. It even helps to offer relaxation to the tight muscles that can increase pain later.
Follow the steps below:

  • Keep the foam roller and sit on the foam taking support by keeping hands behind oneself.
  • Cross one foot and the knee like a “4” position.
  • Move the body to and fro gradually on the foam roller till a comfortable spot is obtained.
  • Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
  • Now repeat with the other foot and knee again.

What Can Make Sciatica Worse?

sitting long time during pregnancy

Sciatica pain is very painful and gets swollen after the disc gets degenerated, and it becomes worse if one is trying to sit for a longer duration as while sitting the disc gets pressurized due to the posture, and it is better if one stands. The Sciatica gets worsened if one is lifting heavy weights and too much coughing also tends to worsen it further.

How Can I Stop Sciatica Pain at Night?

Sciatica is not a permanent pain and subsides with time, it can reduce with the help of medications as well, but if the pain occurs at night, then the following steps should be taken.

  • Good to keep alternating with hot and cold packs where it pains as that helps to relax the pain and enhance the blood flow as well.
  • Alternate between a heat pack and an ice pack over the regions with pain, this will help relax muscles and increase blood flow in those areas.
  • Use a firm mattress to sleep as a softer one can increase or worsen it further.
  • Keep pregnancy pillows between the legs while at sleep so that it can help the pelvic area.
  • Always lie on the back.

Thus, during pregnancy, sciatic pain is quite a pain and can be enhanced by stretching exercises and by keeping a few tips in mind while sitting and standing as discussed above. The exercises also happen to reduce the tensed muscles and enhance the hip, leg and lower back movement. This pain worsens if one stands for longer hours, so it is advisable to keep switching from one position to the other. If the pain worsens, all activities should be stopped immediately, and medical help should be sought if one feels headaches, dizziness or bleeding while exercising.


1. Does Walking Help Sciatica In Pregnancy?

Yes! In order to alleviate sciatic pain, walking is the best type of exercise. In addition to relieving pain, walking also lowers inflammation. But, you should also be mindful that bad posture when walking might worsen sciatica.

2. Can I Massage My Sciatica During Pregnancy?

A professional massage is safe to obtain while pregnant, and it may do wonders for sciatica. These will work to release tension in your lower back, glutes, and legs. Moreover, chiropractic massage has been shown to be an effective treatment for pregnancy-related sciatica.

3. What Week Does Sciatica Start In Pregnancy?

You may get sciatica at any time throughout your pregnancy, but the pain is most common in the third trimester. The extra weight your baby gains poses a risk to its already weak muscles and joints.  The baby’s position that put pressure on the sciatic nerve can be another reason.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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