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Sciatica In Pregnancy: Your Practical Guide

Sharp or dull, on one side or both, sciatic nerve pain affects a lot of mamas. Sciatica is one of those common sucky things pregnant people get to share, and while it can be mild for some it can also become quite limiting and significantly impact daily life for others.

As with most things, the best strategy is to get on top of the symptoms asap, and that's exactly what I'm here to help you with: understand why your sciatica is worse in pregnancy and find effective strategies to improve it, so you can enjoy your pregnancy and keep moving, mama.

An Important Note: Do not believe the people who tell you you just have to accept it 'cause you're pregnant...that's crap! This is not "one of those things" (eye roll)!! There's lots you can do to feel better now and set yourself up with better habits and posture for BETTER HEALTH FOR YEARS! Let's get into it...

What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica?

You probably already know of some, but here's a quick recap of them all:

Sharp, shooting pain typically on one side but can affect both legs.

It's called Sciatica because it refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back through the hips, glutes, and down each leg. Occasionally it's described more like a dull ache. It may radiate down one side of the glutes and back of the thigh, sometimes reaching the foot. You might also feel numbness, tingling, or weakness down the leg.

Why Does Sciatica Get Worse In Pregnancy?

Nerve Compression and Postural Changes: As your baby and bump grow,

changes in your posture can put

pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to compression. This will result in the appearance of some of the symptoms above. Because the cause of the symptoms is usually mechanical (posture changes ---> extra muscular tension ---> extra pressure ---> nerve compression) and not something obscure, there is lots we can do to reduce pain and improve your comfort and your quality of life before and after baby's arrival. Here's my top list of suggestions to reduce sciatica pain in pregnancy.

What Can You Do For Sciatic Pain In Pregnancy?

1. Stretch: Gentle exercises that promote flexibility and ease the tension off the sciatic nerve should become a daily habit. Especially exercises that stretch your glutes, hamstrings and low back if you're already experiencing symptoms: here are my 3 favourite ones.

2. Pregnancy Massage: Regular pregnancy massage can help relieve muscle tension, improve circulation, and reduce sciatic pain. Look for a

qualified massage therapist experienced in pregnancy treatments who can safely and confidently address your specific needs and concerns. A light touch relaxing massage is nice but if you're in pain you'll want someone who's not afraid of applying pressure on a pregnant body and help you feel better. Deep Tissue Massage doesn't have to hurt you! There are ways to apply deep therapeutic pressure that's also relaxing...look for someone who can do that for you. It's magical! If you're in the Hastings area in East Sussex, here's where you can book your massage with me.

3. Maintain Good Posture: This may just be the most important piece of the puzzle and we all struggle with it, especially when growing a baby! Virtually every pregnant mama takes on the typical pregnant posture (I did too) - as the bump gets heavier it's so easy to lean the hips forward and the shoulders back to counterbalance. With that we clench our glutes, increasing the pressure around the sciatic nerve, on our midline (think abdominal separation) and our pelvic floor (no bueno!). Working on our posture can feel overwhelming, boring, and just too hard to tackle by yourself so here's the 1st step for you to start working on. It's easy and it can make a world of difference!

4. Get Professional Support: See a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath who specialises in women's health and pregnancy. They can provide personalised guidance, exercises, and hands on therapy to address sciatic pain and improve overall alignment to get you better more quickly. Starting to work with a specialised personal trainer or attending pregnancy fitness classes may also be a great way to support your body to stay strong and pain free through this season. If you're in the Hastings area in East Sussex, you can join our pregnancy fitness classes here.

Sciatica during pregnancy can be really challenging, but with the right strategies and support, you can manage it effectively, reduce pain and discomfort, and not have to give up your favourite walks with your partner or your favourite fitness class with your friends. Remember to act on the earlier symptoms and not delay professional support when needed. Why suffer and be limited when you're already growing a human and managing so much?! Give yourself a break, mama, get help and get more comfortable quicker.

Get my FREE GUIDE 10 Exercises To Prepare For Birth to keep your body strong, balanced and pain free while you wait for your baby.

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