There is nothing more excruciating than sciatic nerve pain, except perhaps, sciatica in pregnancy. Pregnant women cannot take the myriad of muscle relaxants and NSAIDs that are normally recommended for sciatic pain relief so they often turn to natural remedies.
Luckily, there are some great ways to naturally ease your sciatica in pregnancy without resorting to bedrest that actually work.
Even if your sciatic nerve pain is so bad that you cannot drive or walk for long, know that it will pass and most attacks last around a week at most.
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I originally got hit with sciatica in my second trimester (around 22 weeks) and then is disappeared for about a month. When is came back at 28 weeks, I couldn’t drive or sleep laying down.
The Tylenol recommended by my OB did nothing at all to ease the pain so I started looking for some natural pain relievers. Below are some things that worked for me.
One thing to note (and comfort you), is that most pregnancy sciatica disappears as soon as you give birth and rarely returns afterwards. No one really knows why some women suffer from it just in pregnancy but it may be due to the shift in weight that pushes on the nerve as your tummy grows.
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Although sciatica is caused by a nerve and not a muscle, a good massage can help to ease tension. If your sciatica is caused by a pinched piriformus muscle, massage can help to release it.
Make sure to choose a masseuse who is experienced with working with pregnant women. Some massage therapists have special tables that have holes for your belly.
2. Heat or Cold Packs
There is a some debate over whether heat or cold is better for sciatica pain. I suggest you try both and see which one works for you. You can buy a pack that can be heated or frozen pretty cheaply and can apply it to your hips.
Make sure not to use a hot pack directly on your belly as this can cause harm to your unborn baby. Likewise, you should avoid hot tubs or hot baths while pregnant.
Yoga poses for sciatic nerve pain are a gentle way of relieving your sciatica naturally. If you attend a prenatal yoga class, your instructor should be able to recommend the best sciatica pregnancy stretches.
If you would like to try some of yoga poses at home to relieve your nerve pain, you can find some of the Sciatica pregnancy stretches here. They are all safe for pregnancy and may help provide some instant comfort.
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4. A Pregnancy Pillow
If your sciatica bothers you at night, a good idea is to place a pillow between your legs as you sleep. This will prevent your top leg from putting pressure on your sciatica.
My pregnancy pillow was a Godsend to me when I was pregnant, it allows you to curl up and actually sleep.
If you want to try a pregnancy pillow for yourself, you can get $50 off at pregnancypillow.com with code SEASIDE100.
5. Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium supplements are a great way to naturally relieve your pregnancy sciatica without resorting to pain-killers like Tylenol (which didn’t do much for me, anyway).
You may have heard of magnesium as a muscle relaxant. It is commonly recommended for pulled muscles and back problems. Recent studies have shown that it can also reduce inflammation on the sciatic nerve and it is being recommended more and more by naturopaths.
If you are suffering from sciatica in pregnancy, magnesium supplements are a great option to try as they may also help ease some of your other pregnancy aches and pains such as lower- back ache. Make sure to check with your OB before starting a magnesium supplement and ask about the correct dose for you.
If you don’t want to take any supplements, you can try taking an epson salt (magnesium sulfate) soak or try these pregnancy bath bombs which contain magnesium from the Dead Sea.
You are probably eating a healthy diet during pregnancy but one of the causes of sciatica is a potassium deficiency. Make sure to include some potassium rich foods in your daily diet to prevent any more attacks and to ease your pain.
A lack of potassium also causes leg cramps in pregnancy so making sure you get enough can help there too. The recommended amount for pregnant women is 4700mg.
Potassium-rich foods include:
- Ginger Root (ginger is also good for morning sickness).
Gentle swimming or even walking laps can ease sciatica in pregnancy and help to keep you active. If swimming lengths feels too much, try some stretches in the water as they can be easier to do without the weight of your belly.
I liked to do hamstring stretches while holding on to the side of the pool.
8. A Maternity Belt
I didn’t try using a maternity belt until way into my 3rd trimester but I wish I had bought one sooner. The belt takes the weight off your belly and relieves the pressure on your back and sciatic nerve.
I felt instant relief and was immediately able to walk for miles again where beforehand even a walk to the mailbox was difficult.
There are quite a few maternity belts on the market. I had this one and found it to be great value and sturdy. It gets great reviews on Amazon.
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