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How to Relieve Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy takes a toll on your body, and sciatica pain is just one of many symptoms you may experience throughout your pregnancy. Whether or not you are currently experiencing it, you'll be doing yourself a favor by learning how to relieve sciatica pain during pregnancy. 

Like many aspects of pregnancy, sciatic pain is no fun to deal with. We'll go through together what causes sciatic pain, the symptoms you may encounter, and our best tips for relieving sciatica at home. 

Have you considered using a pregnancy pillow to relieve your sciatica pain? Check out Boppy's breathable and easy wash pregnancy pillows that are designed with you in mind.

pregnant woman sitting on bed

What is Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy?

To fully understand sciatica and sciatic pain during pregnancy, we first need to talk about the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest one in your body, and it runs on both sides of your body from underneath your uterus down through your legs. 

When this nerve is pinched or compromised, it can result in pain from a dull aching to shooting to burning or even numbness, often starting in your lower back and working its way down the back of your leg. 

If you've experienced butt pain during pregnancy or pain down your legs, it may be sciatica. 

Causes During Pregnancy

Your body is undergoing a tremendous physical change during pregnancy that can trigger irritation and discomfort to the sciatic nerve. The growing belly and added weight to your frame can put pressure on the sciatica nerve, especially if you have sudden and fast weight gain or if your fetus is in a certain position.

 During your pregnancy, your body gradually prepares your pelvis for childbirth which can shift your center of gravity and add pressure to the nerve.

Even constipation can cause sciatica by pinching that nerve if it's for a prolonged period of time. 

Sciatica Symptoms

So, when does sciatica in pregnancy start? Sciatic pain can occur at any stage of your pregnancy. If you experience sciatic pain in early pregnancy, it may increase as your pregnancy progresses. As we mentioned, sciatica is caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve and can range in intensity. 

Below are some common symptoms you may feel, usually experienced on one side of the body only. 

  • Pain along the sciatic nerve (lower back, bottom, and back of the leg)
  • Burning sensation along the back of your leg
  • Numbness in the lower back or leg
diagram of a leg with sciatic nerve

How to Prevent

While sciatic pain is not entirely preventable, there are certain things you can do to help lessen your chances of developing sciatic pain. Even if you experience sciatica after pregnancy, the tips below still apply. 

  • Maintain regular movement; avoid extended periods of sitting or standing
  • Aim for steady weight gain throughout your pregnancy, as sharp increases in weight can cause added pressure to your sciatic nerve
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects, which can irritate your sciatic nerve

Put your pregnancy worries, aches, and to-do list aside and check out our list of fun things to do before you're due!

When to Contact a Doctor

Keep your doctor informed at each and every routine visit. Pay attention to your pain; if it's severe enough to impact your daily life, it's time to consult your doctor. Pregnancy symptoms can be hard to diagnose.

Numbness in the legs in pregnancy, for example, can be a symptom of various things, so it's best to keep an open conversation with your doctor about any and all symptoms you experience.

How to Relieve Sciatica Pain at Home

Although sciatica is frustrating and painful, in most cases, there are some simple remedies that you can try at home to ease your pain.

Most center around getting you comfortable and relieving the pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is the cause of the pain.

Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy pillows are consistently at the top of maternity must-have lists for a good reason. For sciatic nerve pain relief at night especially, it's recommended to sleep on the side that doesn't have pain.

You can then use the pregnancy pillow between your legs to support your hips and relieve some of that pressure you are feeling, or wherever it feels most comfortable for you. Pregnancy pillows are super versatile; there's no right or wrong way to use them!

Heating Pad

You might be wondering if you can use a heating pad while pregnant, and while we do recommend consulting with your doctor, heating pads on the low setting are generally safe to use.

You could also try a hot shower or a warm compress if you don't have a heating pad available. Place the heating pad at the source of pain to relax tightness and relieve pain. 


If neither of the above at-home methods has helped, try out a self-massage (or have your partner help out!). Add your heating pad beforehand to really loosen up those muscles and relieve pain.

Gently rub or knead your hip, bottom, and lower back. You could also schedule a prenatal massage with a licensed therapist; just be sure to inform them of the areas you are experiencing pain. 

smiling pregnant woman

Good Posture and Ergonomics

Being mindful of your posture throughout the day can significantly impact the presence and severity of sciatic pain. Keeping your back upright with your shoulders back and down can help relieve sciatic pressure and pain.

If you work at a desk all day, make sure your desk setup is ergonomically friendly, and break up your day by taking frequent breaks to get up and walk around. If how to sit with sciatica is an issue, try out some standing stretches throughout your day. 

Stretches to Relieve Sciatica Pain

To relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, foam rolling and sciatic stretches can help immediately relieve sciatica pain. If there is one movement for instant sciatica pain relief, it's one that really focuses on stretching out that hip rotator and flexor.

Hip stretches in pregnancy may look slightly different; you may need to modify or try the stretch in a seated position. Let's look at some of our favorite sciatica stretches for pain relief that you can do from home, either seated or standing. 

Standing Stretches

If you are experiencing sciatica or hip pain during pregnancy, having a toolkit of stretches you can go to and do while standing can be handy. Try out our recommendations for standing sciatica stretches below and see which one you like best!

You might even find one that relieves sciatica pain immediately for you. 

Standing Lumbar Extension

Standing upright with your feet hip-width apart, place your hands at your lower back and gently tip your head towards the ceiling as you arch your back. Only go back as far as you are comfortable, and you should feel a stretch in your hip flexors. 

Table Stretch

Find the nearest table and stand facing it about arm's length away, with your feet facing forward and slightly wider than your hips. Place your hands on the table and lean forward, keeping your back flat.

Shift your hips away from the table and enjoy the nice stretch in your back and hips. Bending during pregnancy, 2nd trimester, or otherwise, is safe.


Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees while lowering your hips. Try to move your hips back in space to avoid your knees tracking over your toes.

Your back should remain straight, with your chest lowering slightly forward. Return to standing and repeat. 

Standing Pigeon Pose

Position yourself in front of a table and slowly lift the leg of your affected side up with a bent knee. 

Place your hands on the table in front of you for support. Rotate your knee externally so that your shin is parallel to the edge of the table. Rest your leg on or against the table and lean into the stretch. 

You should feel it in your hips and bottom. 

Standing Cat-Cow

Stand upright with your shoulders back and feet hip-width apart. Start by rolling your head and neck down towards your chest while you curve your spine. Slowly reverse the position by tilting your head and chin back towards the ceiling and arching your back. You can either place your arms by your side, on your hips, or straight out in front of you. 

pregnant woman doing a standing stretch on a yoga mat

Sitting Stretches

For some people, figuring out even how to sit with sciatica is a challenge. The best sitting position for sciatica to minimize pressure on the nerve is with your feet flat on the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle, and back straight.

Now that you know how to sit with sciatica, try out some of our best stretches for sciatica that you can do either seated or lying down. 

Seated Pigeon Pose

From a seated position in a chair, raise the leg of your affected side and rest that foot on top of your other knee. You'll be in a seated figure four position and should feel a stretch along your hip and bottom.

Maintain your posture while leaning slightly forward to feel an even deeper stretch and hold. 

Seated Butterfly Stretch

For this stretch, come to a seated position on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together to touch in front of you. Bring your feet in towards your pelvis as close as you can comfortably go.

Shift your weight around slightly and feel the deep stretch in your hips. 

Extended Child's Pose

Start by kneeling on a yoga mat, and slowly move your knees outward while keeping your toes touching. When you're ready, extend your arms out in front of you on the mat and bring your bottom down toward the ground.

Try walking your hands slightly from left to right to feel the stretch along the side of your body and your back and hips.  

Seated Cat-Cow 

To do cat-cow seated, sit towards the edge of your chair with your back upright. Place your hands on your knees and slowly roll your head and neck down while curving your spine. 

Hold for a few seconds before reversing. Begin by straightening your back, rolling your head and neck up, tilting them back, and arching your back. 

Repeat as many times as you'd like.

Bridge Pose

While lying on your back on a yoga mat, bend your knees and keep your arms at your sides. Shifting weight to your hands and feet, slowly and carefully lift your pelvis towards the ceiling, feeling the stretch through your hip flexors.

Hold for a few seconds before lowering back down and repeating. 

Haven't told your family the news yet? Don't fret! We've got 25 fun and creative ways to tell your family you're pregnant.


pregnant woman doing seated stretch

Tips for Sleeping with Sciatica Pain

Getting the sleep you need is extra important when you're expecting, but for some, dealing with sciatica pain during the night is excruciating. Lying down can cause added pressure to the sciatic nerve, especially if you usually sleep on a softer mattress.

We've gathered some tips for sleeping with sciatica pain.  

Use a Pregnancy Pillow

You've probably gathered by now that using a pregnancy pillow is one of our favorite tips for dealing with sciatica and pain in the tailbone during pregnancy. Pregnancy pillows, especially our full body side sleeper pillow, can help eliminate tension and pressure in your hips and legs by aligning your pelvis.

You'll like it so much that it might become a staple in your sleep routine even post-pregnancy! 

Get a Firm Mattress

Sleeping on a soft and fluffy mattress can amplify some of the sciatic pain because of the lack of support. Your spine and the rest of your body sink into soft mattresses, causing the spine to bend more than it would on a firm mattress, accentuating the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Sleeping on a firm mattress makes your entire body more supported and less likely to irritate your sciatic nerve. 

Sleep on the Side Without Pain

When it comes to sleeping positions for hip pain while pregnant or sciatic nerve pain, we recommend sleeping on the side of your body that is not experiencing the pain. If you're wondering about left sided sciatica, the best sleeping position for left sided sciatica will still be on your right side. 

You may have heard that sleeping on your left side while pregnant is the safest, but your comfort and quality of sleep are critical when it comes to sciatica. Sleeping on the non-hurting side will allow your body to relax and release the tension on the side with pain.  

smiling pregnant woman laying down with a pregnancy pillow

Relieve Sciatica Pain During Pregnancy with a Boppy Pregnancy Pillow 

Sciatica pain is no joke, especially when pregnant and already uncomfortable. Adding a pregnancy pillow to your sleep routine is one of the simplest ways to help mitigate the pain. Place it between your legs to better align your pelvis and shift the pressure away from your sciatic nerve. We promise you'll feel a difference. 

Here at Boppy, we're on a mission to support you from the early stages of pregnancy to postpartum recovery and beyond. We make products with moms and comfort in mind. Read more about our story and mission, and shop our collection of pregnancy pillows in all shapes and sizes


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