Q&A: I've got sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. Can I take anything to help?
I’m pregnant, and for the last couple of weeks I've been enduring a pinched sciatic nerve. I have not taken any medication, fearing effects on my unborn baby. Now I'm at the point where it's painful to stand after I’ve been sitting for a while. Certain movements are also painful. Do you have any suggestions about what I can do to deal with the pain?
A pinched sciatic nerve can be extremely painful. As the largest nerve in the body, running from your lower back, under your uterus, and down into your upper legs, it’s no wonder that your developing baby may put pressure on the nerve. You may find that the pain comes and goes or that it’s constant, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
Probably the most effective treatment would be to see a physical therapist. Therapy can work wonders for sciatica; it’s the most under-used treatment for the aches and pains of pregnancy! Unfortunately, your insurance company might not cover the expense. But from a pain relief standpoint, it may well be worth every penny you spend, even if you have to pay for it yourself.
But simple changes might also provide some relief. The American Pregnancy Association recommends the following:
- Lie on the side of your body that’s not in pain
- Avoid standing for long periods of time
- Don’t lift heavy objects
- Try exercises that make you feel lighter, like swimming
I wouldn’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider for medication to ease the pain. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), won’t harm your unborn baby and will help you feel more comfortable.