The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve that begins in the lower back and runs down to the lower limb. It provides the sensory and motor function to the lower parts of the body. When this nerve is compressed, a sensation of numbness and pain starts in the lower back and radiates to the back of the legs.
During pregnancy, the increase volume of the uterus, the looseness of the ligaments and tendons of the abdominal area and the baby position especially during the 3rd trimester can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain in the lower back. The symptoms can include the following:
Numbness in the leg
Lower back pain
Burning sensation in the leg
Pins and needles in the lower back
Sciatica can be chronic or intermittent depending on the pressure over the nerve.
How can I treat sciatica?
Sciatica’s best remedy is to lie down on the opposite side of the pain. You may also apply a heat or cold pad on the affected area. Swimming is the best exercise in this case, since the pressure on the nerve will diminish under water. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory in case the pain is intolerable and would recommend a physiotherapist. Helpful exercises can be performed to relief temporary or to decrease the level of pain.
How can I prevent sciatica?
Always wear flat heels during your pregnancy.
Maintain proper postures while sitting, sleeping and working.
Avoid lifting heavy things or moving heavy furniture.
Keep exercising during your pregnancy. Perform pelvic exercises and swimming.
Try to keep your weight gain within the normal range, between 14 to 16kg maximum. Eat healthy and stay active.
Sleep on a firm mattress and use cushions to support your neck, belly and back.
Sciatica is one of the pregnancy’s discomforts. It will actually disappear after birth. Keep in mind that sciatica is not a recurrent issue that happens in all pregnancies. Usually pregnant women learn how to manage the pain. Toning, stretching and swimming are the best exercises to practice during pregnancy. Keep active and stay healthy.