Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica is a common condition for pregnant women during the second half of their pregnancy. By applying the proper care, it can be controlled to minimally interfere with a woman's everyday life.
Sciatica During Pregnancy

Last update: 24 August, 2019

Are you suffering from sciatica pain during pregnancy?

Sciatica neuritis is a very intense pain that runs along the back of the leg to the heel due to irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

This condition affects more than half of pregnant women and tends to start from the sixth month period of pregnancy.

Below, you can find out the causes and symptoms of this condition and the proper treatment to control it.

Sciatica During Pregnancy


Multiple causes compress the sciatic nerve during pregnancy. However, all of them have the same origin: The anatomic and hormonal changes that take place in the mother as the fetus develops inside the uterus.

Overall, this creates a series of problems:

  • First, the growth of the uterus within the abdominal cavity displaces certain internal organs that can harm the sciatic nerve.
  • Also, the position of the uterus and fetus causes the mother to tend to push her pelvis forward to maintain balance. This changes her center of gravity. Then, this causes her feet to separate more and the back to curve back in excess, thus giving rise to positions that can compress the sciatic nerve.
  • Toward the end of the gestation period, the hormone relaxin increases. This increases the distension of the uterus while the ligaments throughout the body become more elastic. As a result, many joints are more unstable and contractures become more frequent.

Symptoms of Sciatica During Pregnancy

Woman with symptoms of sciatica during pregnancy

The pain will vary a lot according to the degree of compression that is subjected to the sciatic nerve. Some women refer to the pain as being very intense and immobilizing, while others only notice slight discomfort.

The most common symptoms are the following:

  • In the case of mild sciatica, the pain extends from the lower back until the buttocks and tends to be in localized areas.
  • When it comes to a more intense case of sciatica, the pain will radiate along the leg and may even affect the knee and heel.
  • The pain may be intensified when coughing or sneezing.
  • There may be numbness or muscle weakness.
  • The pain may lead to reduced mobility in the most serious cases.

How to Prevent and Treat Sciatica During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman doing yoga

Through exercises and breathing, you can strengthen your body and prevent sciatica pain during pregnancy.

By following a series of precautions, you will be able to treat and control this condition and make it more bearable during pregnancy and childbirth. You will also be able to prevent it from causing further damage to the sciatic nerve.

Here are some tips:

  • Control your weight during pregnancy.
  • Do exercise in moderation. Physical activities such as hiking, swimming, yoga or pilates help to strengthen the abdominal muscles.
  • Thermotherapy. The application of local heat in the affected area relaxes the feeling of pain.
  • Place a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side, or underneath them if you fall asleep on your belly.
  • Wear a pelvic belt that will help to distribute the weight of your belly better and maintain proper posture.
  • Choose appropriate footwear that’s adapted to the natural curvature of your back. Wearing high heels is not recommended.
  • In the case of sitting down for a long time, take breaks by walking and stretching your legs every two hours.
  • If the pain is severe, it’s a good idea to turn to the help of physiotherapists and having localized massages to relax and relieve the muscles.
  • It’s very important not to self-medicate yourself with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Consult with your doctor instead.

Finally, remember that a doctor will always be the correct professional for consultations when it comes to ailments.

The changes in the body that appear during pregnancy have certain consequences, but overcoming them is the best way for you to have a healthy and happy pregnancy.

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  • Ostgaard, H. C., Andersson, G. B., & Karlsson, K. (1991). Prevalence of back pain in pregnancy. Spine.
  • L., T., A., R., & M., M. (1994). Autotraction treatment for low-back pain in pregnancy: A pilot study. Clinical Rehabilitation.
  • Valat, J. P., Genevay, S., Marty, M., Rozenberg, S., & Koes, B. (2010). Sciatica. Best Practice and Research: Clinical Rheumatology.