During pregnancy, a woman’s body secretes a hormone called relaxin that helps the pelvis open during childbirth. Unfortunately, the hormone can cause a shift in the mother’s bone structure, particularly in the pelvis. When the shift places pressure on the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, sciatic pain occurs. Severe sciatic pain travels all the way down the affected leg and causes pain all the way to the foot. The Expecting Mothers Guide explains that a pins and needles sensation may occur as well. Women with severe sciatic pain have difficulty walking and changing position.
Modify your daily activities and schedule to avoid positions that aggravate the pain. Standing, walking, lifting and bending can all worsen sciatic nerve pain.
Lie on the unaffected side to minimize pressure on the sciatic nerve, explains the American Pregnancy Association. Place a pillow between your knees to provide even more relief and allow the body to rest in a neutral position.
Visit a chiropractor for an adjustment to help restore the body to its correct position. Kristine Tohtz, DC from Chicago’s Serenity Health and Wellness Center, explains that chiropractic adjustments can provide sciatic pain relief while being completely safe for most pregnant women. Chiropractic adjustments shift the pelvis and other structures back into their proper position, relieving the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Apply heat or cold packs to the lower back area. BabyCenter explains that heating pads and warm baths offer relief to many women. Cold packs may also help; it all depends on what works for your body.
Visit a physical therapist for specialized therapy of the muscles surrounding the pelvis and sciatic nerve. The physical therapist will also create an exercise regimen to help relieve the pain at home and prevent its return once it is under control.
Consult your physician or health care professional if the pain isn’t relieved, becomes unbearable or prohibits you from performing your normal day-to-day activities.