If you’re experiencing “numbness, burning or tingling down the leg, you might be facing sciatica, an all-too-common pregnancy condition,” warns Evelyn Haworth, DC, a chiropractor in Chicago. “The sciatic nerve is formed by five nerve roots that come together after exiting the spine,” she explains. “If any of the nerve roots or sciatic nerve are pinched, it can result in sciatic nerve pain.”
What would cause those nerves to get pinched? A number of baby-related factors. Haworth cites weight gain, water retention, uterine expansion and poor posture (due to your growing abdomen and breasts) as contributors, and your baby can also position herself in such a way later in pregnancy that she presses against the nerve. Sciatica is most prevalent during the third trimester, but Haworth has a few tips for dealing with it.
- Try to gain weight slowly.
- Take breaks, and get off your feet periodically.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Sleep on a firm mattress—lie affected side up with a pillow between your slightly bent knees.
- Wear a pregnancy belt when your bump begins to protrude.
- Ask your doctor or chiropractor to recommend additional exercises and treatments.