Take a deep breath. Oftentimes, the reason for sciatica during pregnancy is your pregnancy–simple as that. Usually, you didn’t do anything wrong; usually, there is nothing wrong with your baby when these symptoms creep up. During pregnancy, there are two main changes in your body that can temporarily put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica symptoms to occur:
- An expanding uterus
- Your baby’s increasing weight.
An enlarged uterus and/or the increasing baby weight–normal and necessary biological changes during pregnancy–could be just the things causing pressure on your sciatic nerve. When your baby increases in size and weight, it is a sign of good health but it also foreshadows sciatica pain.
The Main Reason for Sciatica: Your Expanding Uterus
As your baby develops inside the womb, it gets bigger and bigger, needing more and more room, so it pushes against many areas of the body. Although the growing baby is most known for pressing against the bladder, accounting for pregnant women’s frequent trips to the bathroom, the increasing size of the baby also causes the uterus to enlarge and can therefore press against the mother’s sciatic nerve. Since the sciatic nerve runs under the mother’s uterus, the expanded uterus can now be large enough to touch the mother’s sciatic nerve. If your back pain is:
- 1. occurring in the lower back and is accompanied by pain in the buttocks and legs (usually on one side of the body)
- 2. during the end of your pregnancy (usually in the third trimester)
you may be experiencing sciatica pain due to your growing baby.
A Bigger and Heavier Baby: An Ideal Combination for Sciatica Pain
As your baby is getting bigger and expanding your uterus, it is also getting heavier. It is the combination of a now large and heavy baby that works against you towards the end of your pregnancy, making you more prone to sciatica pain. Near the end, your uterus has expanded so it can hold the growing baby. At this point, with the uterus already expanded closer to the sciatic nerve, the increased weight of your baby may be the icing on the sciatica cake, pushing your uterus down enough to not only rest on but apply pressure to the sciatic nerve. Hello sciatica symptoms!
In this case, however, sciatic pain also delivers some good news: the fetus is growing and developing into a healthy baby–and it is almost time to give birth!
The More Babies, The Greater the Risk of Sciatic Nerve Pressure
Think about it. As you add more babies to the mix, your uterus must expand as well as hold more weight–the two main contributors to sciatic nerve pressure. Having twins–or triplets or quadruplets, etc–increases not only your chances of experiencing sciatic pain during pregnancy but also the amount of sciatic pain you experience.
Sciatica pain during pregnancy can also be caused by your baby’s position in the uterus or the mother’s pre-existing medical condition–both of which will be discussed more in-depth in other articles. But the good news is that if you have sciatica pain during your pregnancy, there are steps you can take to relieve this pain.