Sciatica During Pregnancy
Holistic Ways of Coping

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Coping with sciatica during pregnancy need not be a painful and frustrating experience. Although your treatment options are limited, there are things that you can do to make your discomfort more manageable. But, before we can discuss treatments for sciatica during pregnancy, we must understand exactly what sciatica is.






"often described as a severe ache"

Sciatica is a pain that is felt in your buttock or thigh. You may also have low back pain, posterior pelvic pain, or pain in your lower leg. The pain of sciatica during pregnancy is often described as a severe ache that is similar to a toothache.

Sciatica during pregnancy is often caused by irritation or compression of the nerve roots that join to form the sciatic nerve.  This can occur because of hormonal changes, your growing uterus, or postural changes from your new shape.

"pressure on the nerves"

When you are pregnant hormonal changes may cause the ligaments of your back to become soft and stretchy, allowing hyper mobility of the vertebrae in your back.  If this excess motion causes pressure on the nerve roots, it will cause the pain of sciatica during pregnancy in your buttock or thigh.

Sciatica during pregnancy can also be caused by your growing uterus putting pressure on the same nerves as they pass through the posterior pelvis.  Any place that these nerves are squeezed can cause pain into your buttock and thigh.

As your belly grows during pregnancy, it changes your posture and center of gravity. You must lean back to keep from falling forward. Arching your back more can also cause more pressure on the nerves where they exit the lumbar spine. Any time that these nerves are irritated it may cause the pain of sciatica during pregnancy.

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"weakness and/or difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder"

You may also have numbness and tingling in your lower leg or foot. Your exact symptoms will depend on exactly where and which nerve is being squeezed. A rare but more serious possible complication of sciatica is cauda equina syndrome.

The symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are lower extremity weakness and/or difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder. Any time you develop these symptoms is important to contact your doctor immediately. They can be signs of a dangerous condition that requires immediate treatment.

"relieve your pain and make you more comfortable"

Holistic treatments for sciatica during pregnancy involve movements and exercises to adjust your baby's position and reposition your anatomy. Combining these practices with meditation and breathing techniques will help to relieve your pain and make you more comfortable.

Gentle Exercises for Sciatica during Pregnancy

Tai Chi

It seemed odd to consider learning a martial art when you are pregnant, but Tai Chi is an ancient martial art, that is no longer used for fighting. The moves are slow and controlled. These gentle motions improve your concentration, balance, strength, and coordination.

These movements are safe when you have sciatica during pregnancy, but depending on your fitness level, you must keep the effort and length of the sessions at a tolerable level.

The further along you are in your pregnancy the more you should concentrate on meditation and breathing techniques while limiting the more strenuous exercises.

The lady in this first video began Tai Chi after she was pregnant and she discusses the benefits that she got from these exercises.

Benefits of Tai Chi When Pregnant.This series of short videos is an excellent introduction to Tai Chi. They begin by explaining the philosophy of Tai Chi, and then they demonstrate some gentle moves.

Tai Chi For Health Part 1

Tai Chi For Health Part 2

Tai Chi For Health Part 3

Tai Chi For Health Part 4

Tai Chi For Health Part 5

Tai Chi For Health Part 6

Another benefit of learning Tai Chi is that you can use it for weight loss and conditioning after your baby is delivered.

Tai Chi for post pregnancy weight loss and conditioning


Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, it combines meditation and breathing techniques with gentle stretches and strengthening exercises to relieve tension and control pain.

If you have never tried yoga you may benefit from taking a few classes to learn the best prenatal techniques. It is important to inform the instructor that you are pregnant and what stage of pregnancy you are in. He will modify the poses and techniques according to your stage of pregnancy.

These videos demonstrate a few gentle movements that you can do at home for sciatica during pregnancy. These simple poses should be safe, but only go as far as you can, and stop if you have any pain or discomfort.

These easy the hip circles may help to relieve pressure at the posterior pelvis.

This bridge pose is good for stretching and strengthening your spine.


Simple meditation can relieve pain and stress by focusing your mind in another direction. It is a skill that can be learned, but it may require practice and persistence to focus away from your distractions.

The steps can help you get started:

  • 1. Find a comfortable place to practice meditating. They should have a comfortable temperature and be away from any distractions such as telephone, computer, or television.
  • 2. Find a comfortable position. If your pregnancy is further along, you may be more relaxed lying down or sitting in a chair. A small pillow under your lower back for support may make you more comfortable.
  • 3. Learn to focus on your breathing. To begin, simply close your eyes and take in a few deep breaths. As you begin to feel more relaxed, slowly breathe in and out, while focusing on the movement of your chest as you inhale and exhale.
  • 4. It may help to focus on a word or sound as you breathe in and out. Some experts recommend staying "ommm..." with each breath as you exhale. As you practice and learn to focus your breaths will become longer and deeper.
  • 5. Be persistent. Don't be discouraged if your mind wanders to the many distractions in your life. It is difficult for your body to adjust to this sudden change of pace but you can do it. Simply bring yourself back to refocus on your word or breathing. It may help to slowly count backwards from ten to one, saying each number as you breathe out.

In the beginning, keep your practices short so that you don't get frustrated. But, do come back to it after a few hours, and try again. Eventually, you will learn how to meditate, and you will always have this place that you can go to relax.

"holistic ways to manage your discomfort"

Sciatica during pregnancy is caused by the changes that your body is going through and there are holistic ways to manage your discomfort and protect your baby. Relaxation techniques along with gentle physical activities can release stress and help to remove the physical pressure on the nerves that is causing your sciatica.

The use of herbal preparations can also be a gentle and natural way to relieve the pain of sciatica. You can learn more about the history of herbs and how to use medicinal herbs from my friends at

You may not be able to completely relieve your symptoms of sciatica during pregnancy, but you can certainly make them more tolerable and easier to endure. Try some of the simple techniques and see if they make a difference.



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