Pregnancy and Sciatica
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Living with your pregnancy and sciatica can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Many women experience some degree of sciatica at some point during their pregnancy.

"your sciatica will not last forever and it should not ruin your pregnancy"

In many cases it will resolve as your pregnancy develops. Other women will have at least some degree of sciatica until they deliver the baby.

The important point to remember is that your sciatica will not last forever and it should not ruin your pregnancy. There are ways to manage and treat your sciatica without drugs or harm to your baby.

  

  

  

  

  


Pregnancy and Sciatica are Common and will not last forever


Living with your pregnancy and sciatica can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Many women experience some degree of sciatica at some point during their pregnancy.

"your sciatica should not ruin your pregnancy"

In many cases it will resolve as your pregnancy develops. Other women will have at least some degree of sciatica until they deliver the baby.

The important point to remember is that your sciatica will not last forever and it should not ruin your pregnancy. There are ways to manage and treat your sciatica without drugs or harm to your baby.


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"caused by compression of the nerves"

The pain of sciatica may be a normal part of being pregnant but extreme sciatica is not. Rarely, women will develop a serious condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina syndrome is caused by compression of the nerves that control your bowels and bladder and/or the muscles in your legs. Any time you develop lower extremity weakness or difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder you must contact your doctor immediately.

It is normal for a pregnant uterus to press on the bladder and cause you to leak a little urine from time to time. This may occur with certain positions, or with laughing or sneezing, but you should not be losing large amounts of urine for no reason.

"the ligaments in your back to become soft and elastic"

The pain of sciatica is caused by pressure on your nerves where they come out of your spine, pass through your pelvis, and down into your buttock and thigh.

Pressure on these nerves can occur when hormonal changes associated with pregnancy cause the ligaments in your back to become soft and elastic. When these ligaments stretch, it can allow abnormal motion and pinching of the nerves, causing the pain of pregnancy and sciatica.

"squeezed by your growing uterus"

The nerves may also be squeezed by your growing uterus that presses against the posterior pelvis. This type of pain from pregnancy and sciatica may be positional and relieved by changing position.

Any time you are having significant pain you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning any type of treatment program. The best treatment plan for the back pain of pregnancy and sciatica begin before you even become pregnant.

"regular cardiovascular workouts prior to your pregnancy"

If you can begin a program of core strengthening exercises and regular cardiovascular workouts prior to your pregnancy it will help you avoid the back pain of pregnancy and sciatica.

Strengthen your core by doing exercises that target your abdominal muscles and the muscles of your back. There are also many good yoga and Pilates programs that focus on your core.

"stabilize your spine"

The stronger your core muscles are the more they will stabilize your spine and help to prevent abnormal motion that may put pressure on nerves.

Some of my favorite core exercises include:

The Side Plank

The Front Plank

A nice variation of these plank exercises, that you may be able to do in the early months of your pregnancy, is to do them at an angle. The higher your head and shoulders are the easier these exercises will be to perform.

Depending on your level of conditioning, you may want to put your elbows on a low chair, or a taller chair, or even a countertop while keeping your feet on the floor. Doing easier exercises with more repetitions is better than more difficult maneuvers when you're pregnant.

Extension exercises to strengthen your back:

Arm and Leg Extensions

Back Extensions

These extension exercises to strengthen your back are easy to do early in your pregnancy or before you are pregnant. As your belly grows they may become more difficult to perform, and the back extensions can also be done lying on your side.

"there are still things that you can do"

As you become more pregnant, it will become more and more difficult to exercise, but there are still things that you can do.

Avoiding bending and lifting will help relieve the back pain of pregnancy and sciatica. If you have other toddlers it may be difficult to avoid picking them up but it is important to avoid straining your back.

"important to be gentle with yourself"

If there are other people around to help you let them pick things up from the floor and do other bending and lifting chores. If there is no one around to help you then it is okay if some things don't get done. It is more important to be gentle with yourself than to have the house spotless.

Taking breaks, time for yourself, to lay down rest will also help to limit your back pain of pregnancy and sciatica. A 15 minute pause every few hours will help keep you going throughout the day.


"you can still manage your discomfort"

It is best to prepare yourself physically for the rigors of pregnancy, but if you don't, it is not the end of the world. If you can begin a regular program of gentle exercises as soon as you find out that you're pregnant you should have plenty of time to improve your conditioning before exercising becomes too difficult.

Towards the end of your pregnancy exercising will become more difficult but you can still manage your discomfort by limiting how much you bend and lift, taking breaks, and ignoring things that don't need to be done.

During this time (and it won't last forever), you and your pregnancy should be the most important thing.



  


  

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