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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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Sciatica During Pregnancy

Here's the scoop on what causes sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy (you know, that nagging pain in your back -- and maybe even down your leg) and how to deal.

What is sciatica during pregnancy?

It’s a nasty shooting pain down the back of your leg. It’s caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve, a nerve that runs from the lower back (you guessed it!) down the back of each leg.

Sciatica is most common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, when your growing baby puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

What are the signs of sciatica during pregnancy?

You’ll know this is different from other back pain or leg pain because it will feel sharp and shooting and run down your leg or from your butt to your leg.

Are there any tests for sciatica during pregnancy?

Sciatica during pregnancy is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms.

How common is sciatica during pregnancy?

It’s very common. Most pregnant women experience at least one episode of sciatic pain.

How did I get sciatica during pregnancy?

You didn’t do anything to “get sciatica,” except get pregnant -- and grow baby!

How will sciatica affect my baby?

It won’t. Your baby will be just fine (see next page for treatments).

What’s the best way to treat sciatica during pregnancy?

A pregnancy girdle might sound uncomfortable, but it actually lifts your uterus a little bit and distributes the weight more evenly -- and that could ease your sciatica. Taking an anti-inflammatory, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), can help, too. So can getting off your feet and lying on the side of your body that doesn’t hurt. Some women find that heat or cold helps, so feel free to apply heating pads (but don’t go uncomfortably hot!) or cool compresses to the area to see what works best for you.

You might also want to consider seeing a chiropractor. “I think chiropractic can help a lot,” says Michelle Collins, CNM, an assistant professor of nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt University.

-- Jennifer L.W. Fink

 

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