During pregnancy, sciatica can often accompany low back or hip pain. This can happen for people who have never had complaints of sciatica before and for people who have a history of sciatica.
Sciatica is defined as pain that runs along the Sciatic nerve, anywhere along the back of either (or both!) legs from the low back to the feet. Often people with sciatica will say the pain is a shooting pain or that it feels like a burning line down the back of their leg. Sometimes people will have nerve pain in nearby nerves that do not run down the back of the leg, but instead run around the outside of the leg to the front of the knee, or down other parts of the leg. A more general term for this type of complaint would be Radicular Neuralgia. The pain can also present with a “pins and needles” sensation that will often be described by the patient as a numb feeling.
Sciatica can be caused by anything that irritates or impinges on the nerve. The weight gain, postural changes and hormonal changes of pregnancy definitely can lead to sciatica and radicular neuralgia. The hormone Relaxin helps to relax the pubic ligaments and soften and enlarge the opening to the cervix to allow the baby's head to pass through the pelvis during delivery. Relaxin's effects are not just localized to the pelvis; relaxin levels continue to increase as pregnancy advances making women more vulnerable to ligamentous injury anywhere in the body. 
Some pregnant women will have problems prior to their pregnancy that will contribute to their sciatica. Those preexisting problems will often have to wait until after the baby is born for complete evaluation, making the goal of treatment during pregnancy just to be comfortable during pregnancy and birth.
Chiropractic care can be very helpful to pregnant women who suffer from sciatica and radicular neuralgia. Chiropractic adjustments from providers who are experienced and trained in working with pregnant women, along with muscle work (massage and stretching), special prescribed exercises and advice on daily activities can make a big difference for pregnant women.
Pregnant women ideally need to be active to have a healthy pregnancy, and many become very inactive when they have sciatica. Relieving the pain of sciatica with chiropractic allows women to be able to be more physically active, leading to a happier pregnancy, and the likelihood of an easier labor, delivery and recovery.
Dr. Anne Lundquist practices in Orange, CA and is committed to helping women have better pregnancies, labors and deliveries through chiropractic care. She has been taking care of pregnant women for more than 20 years in Orange County, and earned her certification in the Webster Technique and her FICPA from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Learn more at her website: www.Chiropractic4Pregnancy.com or by calling her at 714-633-1648.