Pregnancy will not make you more vulnerable to sciatica. It is possible to feel pelvis and back pain during pregnancy. However, these are usually not related to the sciatic nerve. In fact, these may be caused by pelvic girdle pain (PGP). This condition has symptoms similar to sciatica.
Sciatica and Pregnancy
Sciatica is not caused due to the baby pressing on a nerve. The major cause is damage caused to a spinal disc resulting into inflammation in your spine resulting swelling around the nerve. So, pregnancy does not put one at greater risk of damaging a spinal disc. Certain activities such as heavy lifting and those causing the entire body to vibrate (operating machinery) are the major trigger factors for sciatica.
It is advisable not to indulge in heavy-duty work that results in sciatica during pregnant. Sitting for longer periods and poor posture may trigger sciatica. So make sure you are active during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica will give a shooting, burning pain. This feeling comes and goes, and usually affects only one side. The pain travels to the following areas:
– Lower back pain
– Back of thigh
– Outer side of calf
– Foot and toes
If you have been suffering from lower back pain, the pain down the buttock and leg can feel worse. It also feels like tingling, pins and needles, and numbness in your leg or foot. The pain may be sometimes b widespread or patchy. Sciatica can be extremely tiring and leads to constant pain.
Treatment of Sciatica
It is important to see a GP or midwife for sciatica back pain relief. These professionals will refer to a musculoskeletal physiotherapist who specializes in women’s health. The physiotherapist will guide you through certain exercises for strengthening pelvic floor, back and tummy muscles. You will also be instructed on ways to improve your posture. The professional will also keep an eye on you throughout your pregnancy to assess functioning of your nerves.
Most patients with acute sciatica feel are known to better between 10 days to 2 weeks. Others may recover within 4-12 weeks. However, some may experience the symptoms for much longer.
Paracetamol can be taken to ease sciatica pain. Ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Some of the other therapies may include:
Sciatica and Labor
It is believed that some of the labor positions may set off sciatica pain. Hence, you must ask your physiotherapist for advice. A birth pool is a good idea. It will make moving easier for you.
Sciatica and Baby Care
Most mothers-to-be want to know if sciatica will make baby care harder for them. The answer is no if you take care of your posture. For instance, you may try varied positions while breastfeeding. One of the best positions is to lie on side. Here, you need to keep the painful side up. This will relieve pressure on your spine to help sciatica get better.
Another helpful position is laid-back breastfeeding. This will help the baby get support on your body. In case, the seated position is best preferred by you, choose a straight-backed chair. Simply raise your baby to your breast using a cushion or pillow. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
Use a changing station to change your baby. Keep your back straight when lifting the baby. It is possible to have sciatica symptoms even when your baby is 6 months old in case, you had surgery for a slipped disc and suffered from sciatica during pregnancy.
It is a good idea to request your physiotherapist or midwife about some exercise classes that you may join for enhancing general fitness, body strength and flexibility.