Pregnancy can be a beautiful & blissful experience. It can also be a total pain in the butt (literally and figuratively!)
Our mission at Breathe. Physical Therapy and Wellness is to have more women experience a pain-free pregnancy than a painful one. Low back pain and sciatica are very common during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it! There are a lot of things you can do to prevent and decrease sciatica and keep your walk a swagger instead of a waddle.
Here’s what you can do about it:
1. Figure 4 stretch
This will help the muscles surrounding your sciatic nerve to stretch and relax.
- Sit toward the edge of a chair
- Bring one ankle across to the opposite knee
- Gently lean forward keeping your back straight to feel a stretch deep in your buttock
- Hold for about 30 seconds and then do the other side
- You can do this throughout the day, especially if you have a desk job
2. Abdominal breathing with coordinated pelvic floor engagement
This will help you stretch from the inside out, get more stability at your center, and will help with muscle & nerve relaxation.
- Inhale– Belly expands and pelvic floor elongates/stretches down and opens (opposite of a kegel, imagine you are letting out a little gas). Think about filling your entire abdomen with air, breathing into your back and hips and even between your knees
- Exhale- allow belly to flatten back out, gently draw your belly button to your spine, and do a kegel (pelvic floor contraction up and into the body)
- Practice breathing in various positions–back with knees bent, sitting, standing to really focus on pelvic floor and core coordination and relaxation
- Find a position that makes it easiest for you, and get REALLY GOOD at coordinating everything
- Do this as an exercise 1-2 daily for 10-20 deep breaths with focus on coordination and control of using the core as a system.
3. Child’s pose with focus on relaxing your pelvic floor
This is a rest position, and gets the weight of the baby off your spine!
- Get into this position and use pillows as needed. You can add pillows under your booty. You can add pillows or yoga blocks to support your head.
- Be comfortable.
- Knees wide
- Allow your belly to hang to the floor
- Allow your pelvic floor to length and be completely relaxed.
- You should be able to remain in this position for 5-10 minutes and be comfortable. If you are not comfortable, add more supportive pieces (aka pillows).
These are the three of the most common things we give those suffering with sciatic pain during pregnancy. The bottom line is you DON’T have to suffer throughout your pregnancy and there’s more to do other than take Tylenol. You may need more help to become pain-free. Visit a Physical Therapist (PT) who regularly works with pregnant women, or a women’s health PT. As always, give us a call at 515-255-3932 if you need help!