Don’t Let Sciatica Ruin Your Pregnancy! 28 Tips For Relief

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Inside: 50-80% of women suffer from back pain and sciatic pain during pregnancy. But don’t worry, there are plenty of options to get relief. And the good news is that it will likely go away for good after pregnancy! But until then these exercises, tips and stretches will help you feel more comfortable.

As a mom of four, I know first hand that growing a tiny human is basically like running a marathon while carrying a bag of rocks- it’s no easy feat and can take a serious toll on our bodies. 

And if you are reading this, chances are you are dealing with some unfamiliar sharp pain in your lower back, hips or glutes that radiates down your leg. 

This type of pain is sciatic nerve pain and it can be incredibly uncomfortable and even debilitating. 

While this condition can be caused by a variety of factors, some of the most common causes include herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, slipped disc or spinal stenosis.

However, the causes sciatica pain during pregnancy are usually different than non pregnant women.

Which is good news because it will most likely go away after pregnancy!

Today I’m sharing the best 30 exercises, stretches and tips to help you kick sciatica pain to the curb so you can better enjoy your pregnancy. 

So let’s dive in!

Disclosure: Although I am a certified prenatal/postnatal exercise specialist and personal trainer, I am not YOUR trainer. The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute of the information and advice you receive from a healthcare professional. This website does not replace the medical advice you receive from your provider.

What Exactly is Sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. 

This very important nerve attaches in the lower spine, travels into your butt and makes its way under the piriformis muscle and continues down the back of the legs. 

The sciatic nerve is longest and largest nerve in the body and it allows for movement in your legs and feet. 

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or compressed which causes a range of pain from dull to sever. 

The pain is often felt on one side of the body more than the other however it can affect both sides. 

What Does Sciatic Pain Feel Like?

The symptoms of sciatica are often described as:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sever or dull pain down the back of your leg
  • Pain that radiates down the leg and into the feet
  • A tingling or burning sensation in your legs
  • Weakness in your legs or feet 
  • Pain that interferes with walking or exercise
  • Numbness in your leg or feet
  • Pain that worsens with prolonged sitting or standing

If you are experiencing any of these symptom, it is important to tell your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and to rule out other possible causes. 

Related: Don’t Suffer From Pregnancy Back Pain: 15 Exercises To Ease The Pain

What Triggers Sciatic Pain in Pregnancy?

The most common causes of sciatic pain during pregnancy are

  • Extra weight gain
  • The growing baby putting extra pressure on the sciatic nerve
  • Hormonal changes
  • Muscle tension

As you enter the third trimester of pregnancy, changes in your center of gravity can also contribute to sciatic pain.

It’s important to note that the causes of sciatica are typically different during pregnancy than in non-pregnant women due to the anatomical changes of pregnancy. 

How Long Does a Sciatica Flare Up Last During Pregnancy?

The good news is that a sciatica flare-up during pregnancy doesn’t last forever!

In most cases, sciatica caused by pregnancy will get better after pregnancy. 

However, a flare-up during pregnancy can last anywhere from a few days to the duration of the entire pregnancy. 

The duration depends on several factors such as the severity of the sciatica, the underlying causes and how well your body responds to treatment options. 

If the symptoms become unmanageable on their own, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to rule out an other underlying causes of pain. 

Movements and Exercises To Avoid With Sciatic Pain

As a general rule of thumb, you want to avoid these exercises and movements until your pain subsides.

  • Squatting
  • Twisting movements
  • High impact exercises such as running or jumping
  • Bending forward with your legs straight
  • Forward bends such as deadlifts or bent over rows
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Repetitive stair climbing such as the stair climber cardio machine

7 Pregnancy Stretches for Sciatic Pain

If sciatic pain is caused by lumbar spine problems such as a herniated disc, stretching can actually make the pain worse. 

However, pregnancy related sciatica pain is usually caused by other factors such as the added weight of your growing baby, changes in posture or other changes in the body. 

In this case, specific stretches can be helpful for finding relief from sciatic pain during pregnancy. 

Pigeon Pose

This can be done seated, standing or on the ground

  • Sit on a comfortable chair or bench with your back straight and feet flat on the ground.
  • Lift your right foot and place your ankle on top of your left knee with your foot flexed to protect your knee.
  • Keeping your back straight and chest lifted, hinge forward at the hips until you feel a stretch in your lower back and outer glute area.
  • Gently press your knee down for an even deeper stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds while slightly rocking back and forth for more of a dynamic stretch then release and repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Child’s Pose

fit pregnant mom in a childs yoga pose during pregnancy to help her body prepare for an easy labor and delivery
  • Begin on your hands and knees in a table top position. Keep your toes touching but your knees can be slightly wider than hip width apart to make room for your belly.
  • Lower your hips back toward your heels.
  • Keep reaching your arms forward as you lower your chest toward the floor.
  • Relax your shoulders and hold for 30-60 seconds while breathing deeply.
  • To come out of the pose, lift your hips as you walk your hands back toward your knees to the table top position.

Chair Stretch

pregnant mom doing a chair stretch to relieve sciatic pain during pregnancy
  • Stand facing the back of a chair or countertop with your feet hip width apart
  • Hinge forward at the hips and place your hands on the back of the chair or counter.
  • Adjust your feet so that your arms are straight and your back is flat.
  • Gently pull your hips back until you feel a stretch in your low back. It can be helpful to find something that you can grab onto such as a sink or bar.
  • Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Adductor Groin Stretch 

  • Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you at an angle with your hands resting on top of a yoga ball.
  • Relax your shoulders and an on an exhale, hinge at the hips as you roll the ball forward until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh and groin area.
  • Hold for a few seconds then slowly roll back up.
  • Continue moving back and forth for 5-6 reps.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

pregnant mom with one foot in front of the other doing a standing hamstring stretch for sciatic pain relief
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  • Step your right foot forward and turn your back foot out to a 45-degree angle for better support.
  • Holding onto a counter or wall for support, hinge forward at the hips while maintaining a flat back.
  • Bend until you feel a comfortable stretch in the back of your leg and hold for 20 seconds.
  • Release and repeat on the opposite side.
  • You can also take this into a kneeling half split and hip flexor stretch for a more dynamic movement.

Butterfly Stretch

fit pregnant mom doing a butterfly stretch to help prepare her body for an easy labor and delivery
  • Begin on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching each other.
  • Grab your feet or your ankles with your hands and use your elbows to gently press your thighs down toward the ground.
  • Sit tall to lengthen your spine and slightly hinge forward at the hips.
  • You can hold this position or move back and forth for a more dynamic stretch.

Hip Flexor Stretch to Downward Dog

fit pregnant mom doing a downward dog yoga stretch during pregnancy to help her body prepare for an easy labor and delivery
  • Begin on your hands and knees in a table top position.
  • On an exhale, push your hips up and back while slowly straightening your legs and your arms.
  • This is the downward dog position. Your shoulders should be relaxed and drawing down away from your ears.
  • On an inhale, step your right foot forward and to the outside of your right hand.
  • Lower your back knee and forearms to the ground for support. Keep your core engaged to prevent your lower back from arching.
  • If it is accessible, gently press your hand against your right knee to press it outward for a deeper stretch.
  • Hold for a few seconds then step your right foot back and repeat on the left side.
  • Continue alternating back and forth 3-5 times each side.
prenatal exercise disclaimer

It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program or routine during pregnancy. While staying active during pregnancy can be beneficial for both mom and baby, it is important to make sure that the exercises are safe and appropriate for your individual pregnancy. Certain medical conditions and complications can make exercise during pregnancy risky, so always check with your doctor first. Additionally, listen to your body and make modifications as needed throughout your pregnancy. 

7 Exercises For Sciatic Pain

As I mentioned above, since there is no one size fits all approach to pain relief, be sure to avoid any of these exercises that make the pain worse. 

Exercises that strengthen the muscles to support the spine and hips are a great way to help relieve sciatic pain.

Pelvic Tilts

Pregnant mom doing a pelvic tilt exercise on a yoga ball
  • Sit on a yoga ball with your feet flat on the ground and knees at a 90-degree angle.
  • You will likely notice a slight arch in your low back.
  • Exhale while you engage your core by drawing your belly button in and up. Imagine your are lifting your pelvic floor with your core and pressing your low back against a wall behind you.
  • Hold this position for a few breaths then inhale and return to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-12 reps for 3 sets.

Glute Bridge

pregnant mom doing a glute bridge exercise
  • Begin on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You can lie with your upper back on a pillow for more support if you are in later stages of your pregnancy.
  • Place your arms palm down by your sides.
  • Engage your core by bringing your belly button in and up but not sucking in your stomach. Imagine you a rolling a marble from your pelvis to your ribcage.
  • Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground toward the ceiling while keeping your core engaged.
  • Pause at the top for a 10-15 seconds then lower your bottom back to the starting position.
  • Complete 10-15 reps for 3 sets.


fit pregnant mom outside on a pink yoga mat doing a cat cow exercise during pregnancy to help her body prepare for labor
  • Begin on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your hips stacked over your knees.
  • Inhale and arch your back to relax your belly toward the floor while taking your gaze up slightly toward the ceiling.
  • Exhale and engage your core to round your spine up toward the ceiling. Imagine pushing the ground away with your hands.
  • Hold for a few seconds then flow through the two movements.
  • Make sure to move with your breath.

Standing Kick Backs

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a light resistance band around your ankles.
  • Holding onto something for support, engage your core and shift your weight to one leg.
  • Engage your glute to kick your leg back keeping your foot flexed and leading with your heal.
  • Squeeze your glute hard at the top then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 12-15 reps then switch sides. Do 2-3 sets on each leg.
  • Make sure to maintain good posture and avoid arching or rounding your back.

Seated Band Abduction

fit pregnant mom doing a wall squat
  • Begin by sitting on a stable chair or bench with a resistance band just above your knees.
  • Keep your core engaged and sit tall.
  • Squeeze your glute muscles to press your knees out against the resistance band.
  • Hold for a brief second then release.
  • Complete 15 repetitions.

Donkey Kicks 

women in black clothes doing a glute kickback exercise for SPD during pregnancy
  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrist under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Engage your core and while keeping your back flat, use your glute muscle to lift your right knee of the ground and press your heal up toward the ceiling while keeping your knee bent.
  • You can place a pilates ball in the crease of your knee and thigh.
  • Lower your leg back down and repeat 12-15 reps.
  • Make sure to keep your core engaged the entire time to prevent arching in your back. If your core is not engaged, the exercise is not efficient for strengthening the glutes.

Bird Dog

  • Begin on your hands and knees in a table top position
  • Engage you core by drawing your belly button in and slightly up
  • Lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously while keeping your neck and hips level.
  • If you feel your core disengage while lifting your arm or leg, only extend one at at a time.
  • Repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating back and forth for 10-12 reps.

10 Natural Remedies for Sciatic Pain During Pregnancy

The treatment options combined with stretching and body strengthening exercises will give you the most relief from your pain and discomfort.

  • Warm compresses: Applying warm compression to the affected area can help reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • Pregnancy massage: A prenatal massage therapist can help with relaxation, reduce tightness and inflammation in the muscles.
  • Pregnancy pillow and firm mattress: Using a pillow between the knees and supporting your back with a firm mattress can help relieve pain and tension.
  • Chiropractor care: A chiropractor can use their hands to provide manual adjustments or use tools to help reduce tension and improve joint mobility.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture may help with sciatica pain during pregnancy by releasing the tight muscles and calming down your nervous system. 
  • Prenatal yoga: Gentle yoga poses helps to stretch and relax the body and helps alleviate sciatica pain.
  • Heat therapy: Applying heat to the affected area can help reduce muscle tension, increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. 
  • Cold therapy: Using an ice pack in the affected area can help decrease the swelling and relieve some of your pain. 
  • Myofacial Release: Rolling a tennis ball or foam roller can help reduce tightness in trigger points and ease tension in your glutes and low back.
  • Physical Therapy: If regular exercise or stretching isn’t helping the pain, a physical therapist can create a specific treatment plan for you and your body.
  • Practice good posture: Posture is everything during pregnancy! Make sure to avoid slouching or arching your back.
  • Pregnancy belly support band: A maternity belt or support band will help take pressure off your hips, pelvis and low back.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting
  • Avoid high heals

Maternity Belt

  • Supports hips and belly to relieve pressure
  • comfortable material that can be worn all day
  • Great for pregnancy and postpartum

Pregnancy Pillow

  • Full body coverage means for more comfort
  • Supports hips, neck and lower back
  • Plush material for extra comfort

Foam Roller

  • High-density material for tough spots
  • Light weight and easy to use
  • Versatile and can be used for balance, strengthening, flexibility and rehabilitation.

Will Sciatic Pain Interfere With Labor?

Depending on the cause and severity of your sciatic pain during pregnancy, it can potentially impact your ability to move and position yourself during labor.

If you are concerned about how your pain will affect your labor, be sure to express your concerns to your healthcare provider.

They can work with you to find labor positions that work best for you. 

But if you get an epidural, you won’t even feel your sciatic pain! (wink, wink)

Will It Go Away After Delivery?

In most cases, sciatica caused by pregnancy will subside after pregnancy. 

Once the baby is born and the pressure on the sciatic nerve is relieved, the symptoms of sciatica will gradually improve or disappear all together. 

However, if symptoms persist after delivery, make sure to discuss it with your health care provider at your 6 or 8 week check-up to rule out any other potential causes of pain.

Wrapping it Up

Phew, we made it to the end of our sciatica pain relief journey, thanks for sticking with me!

Now you have a whopping 30 tips, exercises and stretches to help you alleviate sciatica pain. These exercises are also great for relieving pelvic girdle and low back pain!

The foundation of relieving most pregnancy pain is a strong core, so don’t baby your baby bump and neglect core training during pregnancy. 

Stay active, stay healthy and enjoy your pregnancy journey pain free! 

And if you experience severe or persistent sciatica during pregnancy, contact your doctor for further advice and treatment options.

Fact Check

Struggles of a Fit Mom uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within it’s articles. Read my editorial process to learn more about how I fact-check and keep my content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  • Sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy. (n.d.). Lancaster General Health.
  • Hogue, J. (2021, September 23). Easing Sciatic Nerve Pain During Pregnancy. Walnut Hill OBGYN.
  • Sciatic Nerve: What Is, Anatomy, Function & Conditions. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic.,nerve%20gets%20compressed%20or%20pinched.

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