I was fairly early in my pregnancy when sciatica started making my nights miserable. It was probably towards the end of the first trimester, maybe the beginning of the second one. I’ve heard of it before, but didn’t really know what that pain was or how it came to be. I was vaguely aware that it had to do with some nerve getting pinched, but that was the extent of it.
So now that I’m much more knowledgeable and have been through it for a couple of weeks, here’s what sciatica is, how to recognize it, and how to relieve sciatica in pregnancy.
What Is Sciatica Pain? (+ Most Common Symptoms)
The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back all the way down your leg. When it comes to pregnancy, the pain usually happens as a consequence of the hormone relaxin. It starts to get secreted very early in your pregnancy in order to get your pelvic floor ready to stretch more than it’s ever been stretched before.
However, it also means the discs in your spine are more prone to relaxing, slipping, and – pinching a nerve, in this case, the sciatic nerve.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica has many faces. For some women, the pain is sharp and quick. For others – and I am among them – sciatica during pregnancy happens while sleeping, and is characterized by dull, lasting pain. It can happen in the small of your back or, in my case, all the way down my leg. Whichever type you fall under, the ways to relieve it are the same.
How to Relieve Sciatica in Pregnancy
I found two main things that help my sciatica in pregnancy at night. And while none of them get rid of sciatica 100%, they all certainly improve the condition.
If yours is causing you serious insomnia issues, here are a couple of tips to try out.
There are several yoga poses I like doing before I go to sleep, ones that make bad sciatica during pregnancy far more bearable.
I move from cat-cow to figure four, then to pigeon pose, then to butterfly pose. From there, I do a seated one-legged forward fold on each side, then a seated wide forward fold. Finally, I do a regular forward fold and call it a night.
Throughout all of these, make sure your belly has enough space and that you’re feeling comfortable.
Having to sleep on one side (namely, left) only makes sciatica pain management during pregnancy harder. So I start sleeping on the left, but when the pain wakes me up, I do turn over to my right side.
I spend the entire night moving back and forth, but it helps. And another huge piece of advice: purchase a maternity pillow! It makes you feel so much more comfortable, and your life so much easier.
Whether you have sciatica in your leg during pregnancy or the one in your back; whether your pain is sharp or dull and lasting, I hope these remedies which help me will help you as well.