Sciatic nerve paint is common during pregnancy, as the uterus can put pressure on the lower spine, but a few simple stretching exercises can help relieve much of the discomfort. Practice these sciatica stretches a few times a day with advice from a certified nurse-midwife in this free video on pregnancy.
I'm Michelle Collins, a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University. And I'm here to talk about how to relieve discomfort from sciatica when one is pregnant. The materials that you'll need for this are basically a straight-backed chair. Well, what sciatica is, first off, is pressure by the pregnant uterus put on the nerve that; the sciatic nerve; that causes discomfort for women that may run down the back of the buttocks and down the legs. Sometimes it presents a sharp pain; sometimes it's just numbness and tingling. But, in any event, it's, it can be really dreadful for a woman who's pregnant. There are some exercises that can help relieve this. One exercise that can help with the, the pain of sciatica is to sit in a straight-backed chair like I am right now. Put the right ankle up on the left knee and just kind of lean forward until it's, a, get started to get a little bit uncomfortable, and hold that for about a count of ten to twenty for two or three times a day. And this helps stretch the muscles in the back of the leg, and can help relieve some of the pressure in that sciatic nerve. And then repeat on the other side. Another position that can be helpful, helpful with stretching the muscles in the back of the leg and relieving some of the pressure off that sciatic nerve, is just to practice squatting by any object for a couple of times a day. And just with feet wide apart, just squat down and hold onto something, preferably that's not on wheels, that won't roll away from you; especially center of, center of gravity maybe a little bit off with the growing uterus during, during pregnancy. But, just squatting for about fifteen to thirty seconds and practicing this a couple of times a day. This also strengthens the thigh muscles and helps get you in shape for using this position during labor and birth as well. Sitting, what's called the Taylor Sit Position, just as I am right now, also is helpful in strengthening the core muscles, the back muscles and helping relieve some of the pain of sciatica. Make sure the back is straight and that you're leaning up over straight back. Once you're sitting in the Taylor Sit Position, it's helpful to go to the next step and do this exercise where you put your heels together and you just lean over as far as it's comfortable for you, and just hold that position for fifteen to thirty seconds. Again, this stretches the leg muscles, helps strengthen the back muscles and the core muscles. Good posture is especially important when a woman is experiencing sciatica. Pregnant women tend to stand with one hand on their hip and let their belly fall forward, and that allows the back muscles not to do their job. So, whenever possible, take your hand off your hip and stand as if you're an inch taller than you really are. And that'll help ensure good posture and help to ease the discomfort of sciatica.