back pain, sciatica during pregnancy


Sciatica is one of the cause of back pain during pregnancy. It tend to arise during the later stages when the fetus is large.


Sciatica is cased by irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that branches off the spinal cord in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the legs. This nerve helps the lower part of the back, legs to feel sensations such as pressure, pain and temperature.

During pregnancy, sciatica can arise if the growing uterus and fetus put pressure on the sciatic nerve causing irritation and pain.

The primary symptoms of sciatica is pain in the lower back, buttock and legs. It can start in the lower back and radiate down into the legs.

Other symptoms include leg pain, poor bladder control, numbness, tingling or pins and needles in the legs, weakness of the lower back or legs, burning sensation in the lower extremities, pain that worsens with coughing, moving or sneezing. Women experiencing these symptoms during pregnancy should mention them to their doctor.

Sciatica in pregnancy can be frustrating to deal with since pregnancy limits the types of medications that can be taken. People can usually relieve the pain with home remedies like (1) stretches and (2) massage.


Light stretches in the back region are the great way to loosen up tight muscles and relieve pain from sciatica. Below are some of the stretches:

(a) Seated piriformis stretch

The piriformis muscle is deep in the glutes or muscles of the buttock. Spasm in these muscles can cause sciatica pain. This stretch can help ease muscle tightness and reduce spasms.

To do the seated piriformis stretch:

– sit on a chair with feet on the ground.

– lift one leg and place the foot on the opposite knee.

– lean forward slowly, keeping the back straight until you feel a stretch in the lower back and glutes.

– hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

– repeat the move with the other leg.

(b) The child’s pose

To do this pose:

– kneel on the surface or yoga mat.

– touch the big toes together and spread the knees apart to make room for the belly.

– sit with the back straight.

– inhaling, reach the arms above your head.

– exhaling, reach the arms forward to place the palms on the ground.

– sit back, bringing the bottom towards the heels.

– keep taking deep breathing, stretching the arms forward a little more with each breath feeling the stretch in the lower back and shoulders.

– walk the hands back slowly and return to a kneeling position.

(c) Kneeling lunges

To do the kneeling lunge:

– kneel on a soft surface or yoga mat.

– step the left foot in front so that the thigh is parallel with the ground.

– exhaling, shift your body weight forward to feel a stretch in the hip and the leg.

– hold the stretch for 30 seconds

– repeat the move with the opposite foot.


Gentle massage over the back can help to relieve inflammation and discomfort around the sciatic nerve. A person should ensure that their message only involves light strokes and stops if it feels too strong or painful.

When finding a masseuse, it is best to choose one who specialises in pregnancy message or has experience in this area.


In addition to massage and stretching, there are other things that people can do at home to prevent or manage sciatica during pregnancy, including:

– avoid sitting for long periods by standing up and walking periodically.

– use heat packs on the lower back or buttocks.

– take a warm bath.

– keep good posture when sitting, especially at a computer. Try placing a support pillow at the back of the chair.