According to leading Los Angeles spine surgery center The Spine Institute, the pain you may feel radiating to your thighs or down your legs during pregnancy is likely due to pressure on your sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your legs. Pressure can be placed on this nerve from excess weight, expansion of the uterus, and the position of the baby at any given moment.
Women who maintain a healthy lifestyle tend to have a smoother pregnancy. As your pregnancy advances, activities can be modified to your comfort level. Water aerobics, for instance, can offer the same benefits of a regular workout while allowing for easier range of movement.
Prenatal yoga classes specifically focus on movements safe for pregnant women. You’ll get similar tissue and muscle stimulation with massage therapy, although the practitioner will concentrate on your specific areas of discomfort.
Physical therapists with a knowledge of pregnancy-related discomfort can recommend exercises that can be performed at home to minimize pain. Chiropractic care can also help reduce the risk of sciatica during pregnancy by targeting areas likely to be affected from added baby weight.
Inflammation of muscles and tendons around the sciatic nerve can result in pain associated with pregnancy. Incorporate some anti-inflammatory foods into your diet during your pregnancy to minimize such discomfort. Fatty fish and leafy green vegetables tend to have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking more water can also help.
If you have a history of chronic back pain or had recent spine surgery, a spine specialist may be able to recommend non-surgical spine treatments to help minimize your discomfort. While some medications are off-limits during pregnancy, your doctor may be able to recommend safe alternatives such as Tylenol. Not all pregnant women will have sciatic pain. It’s usually felt on one side or the other during the third trimester. Try resting in a comfortable position or applying warm compresses to the area where you’re feeling pain. Pelvic tilts can also help strengthen your core muscles and reduce inflammation.