Symptoms of pregnancy sciatica

Sciatica is the common name given to a set of symptoms caused by compression and irritation of the sciatic nerves.
One of the most common causes is a slipped disk or a herniated disc (rupture in a spinal disk that causes the gel inside to leak out) due to the additional pressure put by the growing uterus on the sciatic nerves and the spine.
It does not usually require any diagnostic tests as the symptoms are enough for the doctors to identify the condition. The main object of treatment is to reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerves that helps to deal with the symptoms. In most cases, the symptoms subside within six weeks, while some may take around 12 weeks to recover completely. Excess pressure on any of the five lumbar nerve roots may also lead to the symptoms as they are the origins of the sciatic nerves.

However, those associated with sciatica are usually more severe, affecting just one side of the body. But, women in the habit of regular exercising throughout their lives are less prone to this nervous damage during their pregnancy. However, imaging tests like MRI may be necessary in case it affects the functioning of the sciatic nerves.
In case of persistent sciatica, one needs to continue the exercises even after the baby is born. For some women, mild symptoms may persist for about 6 months after delivery, causing temporary disability. Sciatic nerves originate from the lower back region, travelling down the back of the legs before branching out to the feet.

During the third trimester, the baby starts shifting into the birth position which may place the baby directly on the nerves leading to severe symptoms of sciatica. The similarity of the symptoms often leads pregnant women to believe they are suffering from sciatica when in reality they have pelvic girdle pain. Avoiding overeating prior to conception and during the early stages of pregnancy (first trimester) may also help.

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