4 Exercises to Relieve Sciatica Pain in Pregnancy

These exercises stand out as an alternative to treat pain caused by sciatica in pregnancy. Here's how to find relief.
4 Exercises to Relieve Sciatica Pain in Pregnancy

Last update: 11 October, 2022

Sciatica pain in pregnancy is much more common than you might think. Changes at a physical and physiological level usually modify the position of various structures and can even excessively strain some muscle groups.

The spine, hips, and buttocks are the most affected structures when it comes to sciatica pain, which is why it becomes a more prominent problem during pregnancy. This is because they’re compressed due to the enlargement of the fetus. 

Next, we’ll share some tips to alleviate these typical discomforts of pregnancy.

What is sciatica?

In general terms, sciatica refers to pain that occurs in the back of the body, especially at the level of the hips, buttocks, and thighs. Most of the time, this ailment radiates to other areas, such as the lower back and legs.

Its name is due to the sciatic nerve, which is usually pinched or compressed and causes pain, numbness, and local inflammation. This condition usually occurs on only one side of the body, as it’s rare for the nerves of both legs to be compressed at the same time.

Last but not least, it’s important to note that this problem isn’t serious in most cases, but it is advisable to carry out some treatment to improve the quality of life of the pregnant woman. This can be based on exercises or other therapies indicated by your general practitioner.

Exercises to relieve sciatica pain

Sciatica is often an annoying and sometimes disabling pain. In fact, during pregnancy, it’s usually much more complex to handle, especially when there are other associated discomforts. However, even at this stage, exercises can be implemented to improve it.

Next, we’ll teach you a series of movements that can contribute to the relief of this ailment.

1. The dog-cat stretch

The dog-cat posture is an exercise that’s typical of yoga, which brings certain well-being to the pregnant woman’s body. In addition, it’s very easy to do.

You should adopt a quadruped position, with your knees and palms fully supported. Make sure your arms are in line with your shoulders and your knees are in line with your hips.

Bend your back while putting your head in the middle of your arms and try to emulate an angry cat with its back arched. Hold the position for a few seconds and immediately assume the opposite position, that of the dog.

To do this, make sure that your back is completely straight, while your head is extended backward. Then, raise your tailbone, as if you were a dog that’s raising its tail.

2. Stretch your piriformis muscle

The pyramidal muscle is located between the sacrum and crosses the sciatic nerve, which is why the stimulation of this structure influences pain relief.

We recommend that you practice stretching regularly and in the following way:

  • Lie on your back on a flat, comfortable surface. Do it near a wall and make sure that your entire back, feet, and head are flat on the floor.
  • Once in this position, bend the hips of your right leg and place your foot on the wall.
  • Then rest your left leg on your right thigh and apply pressure.
  • Feel the stretch, but avoid being excessive or creating an uncomfortable sensation.

3. Massage with fitball

A Pilates ball or fitball is quite useful in order to relieve sciatica pain in pregnancy. This element can be used for the purpose of performing various movements, as well as for massages.

Sit on the fitball, with your legs spread slightly beyond shoulder width and your feet fully supported.

From this position, begin to move the buttocks in a harmonious circle in order to stimulate this area, the lumbar region, and part of the thighs.

4. Ball stimulation

The area affected by sciatica can and should be stimulated in order to relieve pain. With the help of a small ball, you can massage the area and seek the stimulation of the surrounding muscles.

Begin by lying on your back with your unaffected leg semi-flexed and resting on your foot. The leg affected by the pain should be flexed and supported on the thigh of the opposite leg.

Next, place a small ball under the buttock of the sore leg and apply pressure with your body as you slowly massage. You can perform this massage through slight movements in a circle.

In the following video you can see some alternatives to stimulate the affected area with a ball.


Sciatica pain in pregnancy, watch your movements

The exercises discussed above are very helpful in treating sciatica symptoms during pregnancy. However, we advise you to be careful because the body during pregnancy is more sensitive.

Before performing complex movements, remember to see your general practitioner. Check what type of exercises you can implement in your routine and ask what other recommendations they can prescribe to treat sciatica pain.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.