Nerve pain, specifically sciatic nerve pain, can be one of the worst side effects of pregnancy. It’s quite literally an intense pain in the butt, that radiates down your legs, leaving you in almost unrelievable pain. But once you have your baby, you may expect your sciatica to subside. Does sciatica pain go away after pregnancy, or does the nuisance stick around?
Romper reached out to Dr. Stacy Brown, an OB-GYN at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. She says the the combination of hormonal changes on muscles and ligaments, along with the extra pressure on the sciatic nerve by the pregnant uterus, can incite or exacerbate sciatica. “Thankfully, after delivery, the much smaller uterus means less pressure on the nerve," she says.
Along with a shrinking uterus, Brown explains that with some time, your hormonal levels will return to normal. “Most women,” she adds, “ may see resolution or improvement in sciatica after delivery.” While some may feel relief after delivery, Brown says some may not. “Those who don’t should check in with their doctor to evaluate other causes of pain,” suggests Brown, “so they can determine if they need further workup or physical therapy.”
Your pregnancy may not be to blame for your sciatica either. According to What To Expect, sciatica isn’t commonly caused by the actual pregnancy, but happens when your sciatic nerve is compressed by bulging discs, arthritis, or spinal stenosis.
Your pregnancy, the article explained, can exacerbate these underlying conditions, when your baby, expanding uterus, or extra water retention put additional pressure on the sciatic nerve, or when your weight gain shifts your center of gravity, causing your muscles to tighten and pinch it.
Sciatica is really the worst. While I experienced no sciatic pain during pregnancy, I herniated a disc during delivery, which has left me with lasting sciatica. Luckily, with the latest medical breakthroughs, more and more sciatica treatment options are becoming available.
With time and rest, hopefully your sciatic pain will go away after pregnancy, so you can comfortably enjoy your new bundle of joy.