Are Sciatica Symptoms More Likely to Return During your Next Pregnancy?

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Have you ever heard of sciatica returning? Yes. If you had sciatica symptoms during a previous pregnancy, you may be at a greater risk of experiencing sciatica during future pregnancies. But whether or not you are predisposed for sciatica pain–and therefore likely to suffer again in your subsequent pregnancies–depends largely on what caused your sciatica in the first place.

Reasons for Sciatica Returning

Wash, rinse, and repeat. You are more likely to suffer from sciatica returning if one of the following is true:

1)  Your sciatica was caused by a pre-existing medical condition (that still exists)

Sciatica pain may be unavoidable during your pregnancies if you have a medical condition. Although you can take preventative measures (e.g. treatment, lifestyle changes), there is no guarantee that your pregnancy will not cause your underlying medical condition to flare up again.

2) You have not adjusted your lifestyle since the last pregnancy (e.g. inactive, poor diet, high stress)

Because many lifestyle choices are risk factors for sciatica during pregnancy, if you did not learn from your past sciatica pain and alter your ways, sciatica symptoms are likely headed your way. But sciatica caused by lifestyle choices is avoidable, so take the steps to change your habits and erase sciatica from your future pregnancies.

When it’s a One Time Thing

Just because you had sciatica during your past pregnancy does not always mean your should live in fear during your current one, awaiting the shooting pain and tingling feet. You are less likely to be able to predict sciatica reoccurrences from past pregnancy experiences if:

1) The cause of your sciatica was the baby’s position, weight or size.  

In all of these instances, your sciatica was caused by your baby. In future pregnancies, you will have a different baby that may not weigh as much, be as big or sit in the same spot in your womb as the last one. Therefore,  your sciatica was instant-specific and likely avoidable on the next go around. However, that is not to say your next baby will not also position itself  nicely on your sciatic nerve; it just means that your last baby doing so is no indication of the next one replicating it exactly.

It Could Go Either Way

Sometimes you cannot be sure of your sciatica returning or now. It could go either way if:

  1.  Your sciatica pain stemmed from a herniated disc or pinched nerve you for from the pregnancy
  2. The release of pregnancy hormones caused an injury

Both of these causes seem like they are specific to an individual pregnancy (e.g. you moved the wrong way or lifted a heavy packaged that put too much stain on your body and caused an injury), so your sciatica is not likely to reappear in your next pregnancy. However, they could indicate a deeper problem that still exists: weak bones. If your spine and pelvic muscles are brittle and thus more vulnerable to damage, your sciatica could be a repeat offender.

Technically, the answer remains a maybe for all of them–as there is always an exception. Pregnancies can be so different, even for the same mother, than there is no guarantee one way of the other. Either way, you should worry less about whether or not you will experience sciatica again (psst high stress puts you at risk for sciatica) and instead take more steps to give yourself a healthier life while lowering your sciatica risk. Check of the “Lifestyle Changes” section for ways to do this.


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