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What A Pain Sciatica Is!

During pregnancy women are dealing with so many of the weirdest physical issues. Everything from making too much saliva-yes that’s a real symptom- to carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica. Pregnancy and sciatica, sadly, often go hand in hand. Isn’t being pregnant hard enough to have to deal with pregnancy and sciatica?

Sciatic Nerve Pain In PregnancyI frequently have students in my prenatal yoga and childbirth classes talk about their sciatica symptoms. They want relief!

The symptoms of sciatica during pregnancy can vary but feel something like these:

  • Random pain down one side of their lower back and shooting down the leg.
  • Sudden numbness and a feeling like their leg won’t support them
  • Pain in the lower back to the tailbone
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Stinging or prickly feeling down the leg

Sciatica can be caused by:

  • Disc problems in the lower back
  • A tight Piriformis muscle in the hip area
  • The position of the baby in utero pressing on the nerves of the spine and hip and specifically the sciatic nerve

Prenatal Yoga Poses Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain In Pregnancy

 Marjaryasana and Bitilasana aka cat/cow

catcowClick here to look at: Yoga Mats 1/4″ (24″ x 72″)

Begin with a bit of warming up. It’s better to stretch a warm muscle than a cold muscle. Since you’re pregnant, begin on all fours in table pose-hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Start with cat/cow poses. This pulls the belly forward, and helps to strengthen and stretch the belly, back muscles, and the bottom.

The movement can be very relaxing if you follow the pace of your breath. Keep the breath deep, slow, and fluid. I like to try to make each inhale and each exhale at 3 seconds each. Learn how in my free 25 minute prenatal yoga class, below.

Adho Mukha Svanasana-Downward Facing Dog


Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward Facing Dog with straight legs can aggravate the sciatic nerve. Keep a slight bend in the knees.



Keep a bit of a bend in the knees in downward dog during pregnancy to prevent aggravating the sciatic nerve. don’t hyper-extend the knees.


Rest in extended child’s pose after downward dog.

After 10-20 cat cow movements, walk your hands out in front of your shoulders on your mat about 6 inches, curl your toes under, and lift your hips into Downward Facing Dog pose. Because of the sciatic pain, keep a bend in the knees, even if you’re really flexible. Tilt your tailbone to the sky, roll your shoulder blades down your back, and try to rotate your inner thighs toward the back of your mat. Press your finger pads into your mat rather than the heel of your hands. Hold for 5 breaths.
Preggers Maternity Support Band

Uttanasana-Forward Fold         


During prenatal yoga, you will have to open your feet wider than when you are not pregnant. That’s okay. Just make sure your toes are parallel to each other.

From downward dog, bend your knees a bit more as you walk your hands to your feet at the back of your mat. Your feet can be hip-width part or wider if your baby-belly is in the way. Just make sure your toes are parallel to each other.         

Inhale as your bring your hands to the front of your shins, keep a bend in the knees, and bring your torso parallel to the floor. It feels as though you are doing a cow arch in your back but you will have a flat back. Press your hands and shins into each other with equal pressure to engage your thighs muscles more. Inhale deeply and as you exhale fold forward all the way over your legs. It is NOT necessary to touch your toes or the floor. Cross your arms or clasp the opposite elbow with each hand. Keep a bend in the knees. The bigger the bend the more you release the muscles in the lower back. Hold for 5-10 breaths. It should feel good, relaxing, and you should feel the back of your body stretching with each exhale.

If you suffer from heartburn during your pregnancy, this forward fold may aggravate that. You can place a block under your hands and only fold from the hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor.

Wide legged forward fold – Prasarita Padottanasana


If you have heartburn use a block or two and only fold until your torso is parallel to the floor.


Wide legged forward folds are a great hamstring stretch and relaxing too! Toes in – heels out.


You can also face the side of your mat with your feet 3 ½-4 feet apart. If you extend your arms parallel to the floor your ankles will be directly under your wrists. Start with toes parallel, then turn your toes in about 45 degrees and heels out. Follow the same forward fold instructions as above.


Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana – One Legged King Pigeon Pose or Thread the Needle or Both!

seated thread the needle 3

Don’t like pigeon pose? Try this version in your chair at the office or at home.


During your 2nd & 3rd trimester of pregnancy you may need to place a block under the straight leg to give your belly more room.

Yoga Blocks Foam 3″ x 6″ x 9″
from: YogaDirect, LLC

thread the needle1

Thread the needle is a great variation to pigeon pose. Although lying on your back in your 3rd trimester of pregnancy may be difficult.

For Pigeon pose to stretch the outer hip, start from downward facing dog. Bring your right knee forward and down onto the mat right behind your right wrist or outside your right wrist. Your right foot will be on the left or opposite side of the mat. Think of the shape of the number 7. Take your right knee outside or to the right of the line of your hip. During pregnancy, doing pigeon can be a little tricky, especially in your 3rd trimester of pregnancy. You may need a bit more room because of your pregnant belly.

You can prop up your back thigh with a block under the thigh just above the kneecap or use a folded blanket if you don’t have a block. Rest your head on another block or on a folded blanket so that your head doesn’t hang.

Yoga Blocks Foam 3″ x 6″ x 9″
Whenever you get a chance, place an ice pack for 10 minutes on the lower back where the pain originates. You can also take a bath in Epsom Salts to relax the muscles. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

Try my Prenatal Yoga videos from Yoga Prenatal Yoga 2 led by Liza Janda.

Balance Your Pelvis & Position Your Wombmate
Prenatal Yoga #1 by Liza Janda
Prenatal Yoga #1 by Liza Janda