Sciatica is caused by pressure on your sciatic nerve, but what causes this pressure during pregnancy? Your baby “dropping” could be one of them. Find out if you have baby dropping sciatica.
Baby Dropping Sciatica: Definition, please?
“Dropping” is a medical term that refers to your baby moving, or dropping, down lower in your abdomen. One of the signs that labor is near, your baby dropping means that your body is preparing to deliver the baby by shifting the location of the baby towards the pelvic area. Whereas the baby could more freely move and change positions while inside your uterus, once it drops, the baby will be in a more permanent, “head down” position. This process may also be referred to as “lightening,” due to the relief of many pregnancy symptoms that accompany it. But although your baby dropping could relieve the pressure on your stomach and lungs, it could add pressure to your sciatic nerve, causing sciatica symptoms. Welcome, baby dropping sciatica!
How You Can Tell if Your Baby has Dropped
Once you baby has dropped, you may notice several differences:
- Your breasts no longer rest on your abdomen,
- You have an increased need to urinate,
- You can eat more without feeling uncomfortably full,
- You experience relief from heartburn, stomach and lung pressure, and shortness of breath
- Your baby’s head feels closer to your pelvic bone; and
- You get sciatica symptoms (lower back, buttocks, one leg)
The Connection between Your Baby Dropping and Sciatica Pain
You could begin experiencing sciatica pain when you baby drops. With the baby further down in the abdomen, there is a greater likelihood that the descended baby will come in contact with the sciatic nerve, putting pressure on it and causing the sciatica symptoms mothers typically experience in their third trimester. Because the sciatic nerve runs right below the uterus, your baby’s new home in your pelvic region is prime real estate for touching the sciatic nerve.
Women having their first baby are more likely to experience sciatica symptoms from their baby dropping than mothers have their second, third, etc.. Because women who have already had children have been through the birthing process, their bodies need less stretching and warming up than first-timers; therefore, any future babies they carry may not drop at all; the extra preparation is no longer needed.
When Can You Expect Baby Dropping Sciatica Pain?
Since the baby moving down in your abdomen is the body’s way of readying you for labor, babies usually drop within the last few weeks of pregnancy. First-time mothers’ babies usually drop within the final two weeks before deliver. However, some expectant mothers have dropped earlier–as early as four weeks before they give birth. If you are having your second, third, fourth, etc child, your baby will probably not drop before your begin labor. So, if you experience sciatica pain due to your baby dropping, you will notice it not too long before you give birth.