The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that follows a course from the pelvis to the back of the leg. This nerve supplies motor and sensory function to much of the leg. As pregnancy progresses, many women notice pain due to compression of this nerve by the uterus. This pain is called sciatica and often extends from the back of the thigh to the knee. Sciatic pain usually does not extend below the knee. If you have pain below the knee, be sure to contact your physician. Sciatica is a very common condition that usually occurs late in pregnancy and resolves after delivery.

Sciatic pain usually disappears after delivery. To relieve pain during pregnancy, your physician may have you take Tylenol and rest often. Many women find that sitting in a whirlpool is helpful. Do not set the whirlpool at a high temperature since it is important not to overheat. Hot water bottles may also alleviate pain. Mild pain may persist until delivery. If your pain becomes severe, your physician may have you see a physical therapist for further treatment.