It is possible that women may suffer from leg weakness during their lives, however, it often plagues women during pregnancy.

Leg weakness is often a result of both the additional weight of the foetus and pressure of the uterus on the nerves in the back.

Individuals who have had back problems in the past are likely to experience pain and weakness in their legs while they are pregnant.


Starting at the lower back, the sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs down the back of each leg to the feet. This nerve is responsible for feeling the sensations in the lower extremities of the body.

If there a too much pressure on the sciatic nerve, muscle pain is likely to occur. If the pressure becomes constant and the pain is persistent, which is possible during pregnancy, the leg muscles may weaken.


As the foetus grows, the uterus could press against the sciatic nerve and therefore cause the leg weakness and back pain.

In some circumstances, the leg weakness can be a caused by a damaged, herniated or slipped disc in the back that can be aggravated by pregnancy. The damaged disc can cause inflammation of the tissues surrounding the nerve and press on the sciatic nerve resulting in leg weakness.


Pregnant women suffering from leg weakness may also suffer from the following symptoms: numbing of the legs, pins and needles in the lower back, feet or legs, shooting pain and/or burning sensations.

Treatment options

Physiotherapy can help with improving leg muscle strength and ease any pressure on the sciatic nerve. Exercises that focus solely on strengthening the abdominal muscles, back muscles and pelvic floor muscles are advised as they are more beneficial.

Massage therapy can also be helpful in easing any inflammation and leg weakness associated with sciatica.

Contact one of our Birmingham physiotherapists for a consultation on antenatal and postnatal physiotherapy.


B15 3ES

0121 5148866


B91 2JY

0121 5148866