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Stretches for Sciatic Pain in Pregnancy

author image Judy Bruen
Judy Bruen is a private certified personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds dual master's degrees from Boston College in clinical social work and pastoral ministry. She currently works with individuals on fitness, health and lifestyle goals.
Stretches for Sciatic Pain in Pregnancy
Stretches may alleviate sciatica during pregnancy.

Your sciatic nerve starts in your lower back, runs through your hips and down the back of your legs. Uterine growth during pregnancy and the baby’s position may place pressure on your sciatic nerve, causing dull pain, aching, burning or tingling in your hip, thigh or buttock. Different stretches may reduce your symptoms and ease your discomfort. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program or if your pain subsists.

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Seated Piriformis Stretch

The seated piriformis stretch lengthens and loosens the piriformis muscles, located in each of your buttocks. Sit on the edge of a chair, straighten your back and relax your shoulders. Lift your left foot off of the ground, and place the outside of your left ankle on your right knee. Place your left hand on your left knee; this will prevent it from lifting during the stretch. Lower your chest toward your knees, stopping when you feel a stretch in your left buttock. Hold for 45 seconds, then do the same with your other leg.

Seated Hamstrings Stretch

Stretching the back of your thighs, your hamstrings, may reduce symptoms of sciatica. Tight hamstrings may tug on lower back muscles that cover your sciatic nerve. Sit on the ground and extend your legs in front of you. Widen them 45 degrees and straighten your back. Relax your shoulders and lift your arms in front of you. Slowly lower your chest toward the floor while reaching your fingers toward your toes. Widen your legs to accommodate your stomach if necessary. Stop when you feel a stretch in the back of your thighs, and hold for 45 seconds.

Standing Pelvic Tilts

Weight gain causes postural changes during pregnancy. Your center of gravity may change, placing pressure on different parts of your body. For example, your pelvis shifts and relaxes in preparation for labor. It may pull on your lower back muscles, placing pressuring on your sciatic nerve. Standing pelvic tilts stretch your lower back and encourage good posture. Stand with your back against a wall, straighten your spine and widen your feet to shoulder-width. Push your lower back against the wall, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.

Backward Stretch

This stretch lengthens and relaxes three areas commonly affected by sciatica: your hips, thighs and pelvis. Kneel on all fours, positioning your hands under your shoulders. Sit back on your heels, while tucking your head toward your knees. Stretch your hips back, while stretching forward through your fingers. Widen your knees to accommodate your stomach if necessary. Hold for 45 seconds and release. Place a rolled towel between your heels and hips if your back is very tight or if you feel strain during this stretch.

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