Pregnancy brings with it many joys. But it also brings morning sickness, tender and painful breasts, mood swings, physical changes in the body, weight gain, swollen ankles and sometimes even sciatica.
The sciatic nerve travels from the spinal cord to the buttocks and hips and down the length of each leg at the back. Sciatica is a medical term used to describe the pain that travels the length of this nerve.
As the pregnancy progresses the tummy grows. The expanding tummy applies pressure on the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica. The condition typically starts during the third trimester of the pregnancy when the size of the abdomen grows in leaps and bounds. Sometimes sciatica can also be caused if the spinal disks were already damaged and the slackened ligaments and tendons put weight on the sciatic nerve with advance in pregnancy.
Sciatica caused by pregnancy sets of extreme pain and burning sensations in the lower back. The pain typically arises and goes along the direction of the sciatic nerve. The pain originates from the lower back and is felt even in the calves. Sometimes sciatica also results in numbness of the nerve which causes tingling pin-like sensations in the affected area.
Some pregnant women experience only mild form of sciatica while some might have extreme sciatic pain. In extreme cases the pain can be a hindrance in performing daily activities.
The good news is that pregnancy related sciatica usually goes away post partum. However, one need not put up with the pain during pregnancy. There are a few simple things that can be done at home to take care of sciatica. Relax and calm the nerves by alternating application of heat and ice packs.
Use a flat and firm surface to rest. Lie on the side that is free from sciatica and put a pillow between your legs. This will help ease the pressure from the sciatic nerve. Do not wear heels as this will increase the problem. Get a prenatal massage that will relax your back muscles and reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica during pregnancy is an uncomfortable and painful condition to be in. unfortunately, it cannot be prevented. However, regular exercising during pregnancy can keep the problem under control. Exercising will improve not only your muscle tone but also help you maintain the correct posture and balance your body as your center of gravity shifts.