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It’s a common complaint in pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. Back pain.
Up to 80% of pregnant women experience back pain, and it often is associated with irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica itself is less a diagnosis than a symptom of more serious underlying issues related to the spine, such as a herniated disc, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis).
For the most part, pregnancy itself does not actually cause sciatica. In fact, only about 1% of pregnant women have true sciatica. But lower back pain in pregnancy certainly mimics it and is related to the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back to the buttocks and hips, and down the back of the legs to the feet. Along this course, it also happens to be positioned under the uterus, where it is privy to pressure from the growing fetus.
Pregnant women who are sedentary, obese, or who use tobacco carry a higher risk for severe back pain. Nevertheless, this type of pain is reported in the majority of pregnancies. For most, mitigating the pain is remarkably simple — targeted stretching associated with many yoga exercises.
Two of the most effective yoga poses for lower back pain are the well-known downward-facing dog and the pigeon pose. They are safe for women with uncomplicated pregnancies and focus on stretching the hamstrings and mildly twisting the torso.
The downward-facing dog helps extend the cervical spine and strengthen the midsection, and loosen tight hamstrings and lower back muscles. The pigeon pose helps open up the hips, stretch the torso, and relieve sciatic discomfort.
As a precaution, a pregnant woman always should consult her obstetrician before undertaking any yoga or exercise regimen. Most OB/GYNs recommend exercise in moderation and an active lifestyle. Fitness usually gives expectant women a significant advantage in keeping pregnancy pain at bay and enjoying a healthy, successful pregnancy.
This blog provides general information and discussion about healthcare-related subjects. The content and linked materials provided are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader is an expectant mother with a medical concern, she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or healthcare provider.
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