“Get out of the way!” is a phrase you may want to scream when your baby’s position in your uterus causes you sciatica pain. Just like we toss and turn at night while sleeping to get comfortable, so does your baby. Your baby is able to move around and reposition itself over the course of your pregnancy, trying out different positions–and the different positions your baby takes have different affects on you. Although you may not be able to always tell the positioning of you baby, several positions are more likely to put pressure on your sciatic nerve and cause you sciatica during pregnancy. Let’s take a look.
Sciatica During Pregnancy: Baby Positions that Irritate the Sciatic Nerve
1. Head-down Position:
Usually the baby “drops” and ends up in a head-down position within the last weeks of the pregnancy as a way of preparing to exit the womb; this is when the baby occupies the pelvic region. With the baby lower in the abdomen, the back of its head facing the pelvis, the baby is in a prime spot to irritate the sciatic nerve. Although more likely during the final stages of your pregnancy, the baby can enter this position at other times–or be in that position throughout the pregnancy. However, because the baby has not yet dropped, the position may not cause sciatica pain, as the baby has probably not reached a weight that would expand the uterus enough to put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
2. Footling Breech Baby:
When your baby is in a footling breech position, it means its feet are pointing down toward your pelvic region. When your baby is feet first, you can sometimes tell that it has taken this position because you may feel kicking in your lower abdomen–or sciatica pain, as the baby is also located in a convenient spot to kick your sciatic nerve. If the baby is in this position close to birth, doctors will usually try to re-position the baby, as it presents the risk of the baby’s umbilical cord tangling during a vaginal delivery.
3. Any Other Position in which the Baby’s Weight falls on the Sciatic Nerve:
When the baby is at its max weight near the end of your pregnancy, any position it takes is likely to irritate the sciatic nerve. This is because the uterus has expanded to carry the larger baby and therefore gets closer to the sciatic nerve; the heavier load can also push your uterus down to rest on the nerve. Luckily, you are close to giving birth and relieving the sciatic pressure.
Your baby can be very indecisive during your pregnancy, frequently switching positions–some of which may cause sciatica symptoms and others that are free from this pain. This would therefore cause your sciatica pain to come and go. For other women, the baby may maintain a single position for a majority of the pregnancy, making the sciatica symptoms more constant and permanent than intermittent.
But whether the baby keeps changing locations or sticks to one position, it is likely that you will experience sciatica pain to a some degree during the course of your pregnancy.