Sciatic nerve pain is one of the more uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy. The pain is easy to identify. Sciatic nerve pain is a severe, shooting pain that is felt from the top of the thigh down throughout the leg.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. The nerve provides the sense of feeling to the back of the legs and soles of the feet. When the pain is felt, it generally starts at the top of the leg and moves down to the foot.
During pregnancy, the sciatic nerve goes under the uterus and to the legs. The growing baby puts pressure on this nerve. The pressure of the baby causes the sharp pain. It is common for the pain to come on suddenly and stop just as quickly. The pain may last from a few weeks to a few months.
Alternating heat and cold on the area may help relieve the pain. For some women, a soak in a warm tub is effective for reducing the pain. Massage and acupressure can also be used with good results. If none of these remedies work, ask your physician if acetaminophen is OK. A visit to the chiropractor for some gentle adjustments may help the discomfort.
As with many discomforts of pregnancy, prevention is the key. Standing for long periods of time and lifting heavy objects can contribute to the pain. To prevent sciatic nerve pain, avoid doing these things. Change positions frequently and elevate your feet to help reduce pressure on the nerve.
The way you sleep can help alleviate sciatic nerve pain. The best way to rest is to sleep on the side that doesn’t hurt. If the pain is in your right leg, sleep on your left side. This can help relieve the pressure on the nerve and reduce the pain.