Pregnancy places a great deal of physical, nutritional and physiological stress on the mother’s body. Doubling of maternal blood volume, an increase in nutritional requirements and the rapid growth of the fetal tissues and organs forces the mother’s body to undergo an array of modifications to accommodate a rapidly developing fetus.
When these changes take place in a relatively short period of time, the maternal body is put through a lot of stress and pressure leading to mild or severe several health complications like abnormal blood pressure, edema, cramps and sciatica among others.
What Causes Sciatica during Pregnancy?
A significant percentage of women experience intense lower back pain during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. This occurs when the fetus presses its head against the sciatic nerves. These nerves are present in the ends of the spinal cord and run all the way through the pelvis and upper legs. When these sciatic nerves are pressurized for a prolonged period of time, an agonizing back pain called pregnancy induced sciatica occurs.
Symptoms of Sciatica during Pregnancy:
• A sudden excruciating pain in the lower back, leading to numbness in the region
• This numbness and pain could extend up to the legs as well, limiting the mother’s mobility.
Treatment and Prevention
This condition results from the positioning of the baby in the womb. Therefore, there is very little that can be done to treat sciatica during pregnancy. The condition will subside soon after delivery.
However, there are certain steps and measures that could be undertaken to prevent the occurrence of sciatica in the first place. Following a healthy lifestyle is sufficient to prevent sciatica and a host of other complications associated with pregnancy.
Listed below are some simple yet effective tips that you could follow:
1) Never Compromise on Exercise
Exercise does wonders to your body irrespective of your age and the type of lifestyle you lead. Sciatica will get worse if you have a weak back with poor and limited flexibility. Exercises that focus on strengthening the lower back are a wonderful solution to relieve sciatica. These physical workouts provide greater flexibility, improving your overall health status. However, remember to consult your doctor before performing any type of exercise during pregnancy to prevent unwanted complications.
2) Better Posture
It is extremely important to maintain a healthy and correct posture irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not. Slouching in front of the computer rather than sitting straight pressurizes your bones in an unhealthy manner leading to unwanted back aches. Therefore, sit straight with your back in an upright position to prevent sciatica.
3) Take Regular Breaks
If you carry a child on your hip for prolonged periods of time while pregnant, there will be a build up of unwanted pressure in your lower back, which has to carry the weight of the child and the growing fetus at the same time. So remember to give yourself a break on a regular basis.
4) Say No to High Pointed Heels
Wearing flat heels helps your body to apply equal force on your legs from all the sides leading to greater balance and posture. Wearing high pointed heels on the other hand causes your heels to take up the enormous part of your weight. When this occurs during pregnancy, an additional weight of a growing fetus puts extreme pressure on your lower back, legs and heels leading to sciatica.
Small modifications are sufficient to prevent several complications that arise during pregnancy. Follow these simple tips to prevent occurrence of sciatica and experience a hassle free labor.
Photo Credit: Westfamilychiropractic.com