Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition. Around half of all women will experience carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy. This condition causes tingling, numbness and pain in the hands and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect the whole hand, but is most commonly felt in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.

The condition occurs when the nerve that controls sensation and movement in the hands (the median nerve) is compressed. During pregnancy, you carry excess fluids. These fluids accumulate in your body tissues, and may cause swelling. This swelling is thought to cause carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy

The symptoms may start gradually and slowly worsen as the pregnancy progresses. During the third trimester, as your body swells more, you may find your symptoms worsen slightly. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome tend to be worse at night. Symptoms include:

  • tingling in the hands and fingers
  • numbness in the hands and fingers
  • pain in the hands and fingers
  • pins and needles
  • weakened grip
  • dull ache in the arm or wrist

How to ease carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy

The following tips may be useful to relieve the discomfort caused by this condition:

  • avoid repetitive hand and wrist movements
  • avoid sleeping on your hands
  • flex, shake and move your hands when tingling occurs
  • change arm and wrist positions regularly
  • acupuncture

Speak to your healthcare provider

If the pain is stopping you from sleeping, or interfering with your everyday life, you should speak to your healthcare provider. They may recommend a B6 supplement. You should not start taking a B6 supplement without first speaking to your healthcare provider.

If your condition is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend ultrasound therapy to ease your discomfort. If your symptoms worsen at night and prevent you from sleeping, a wrist splint may be recommended.

When will it end?

As your body returns to its normal state after the birth, you should find your symptoms disappear. Most women find that they are no longer suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome three months after the birth.

If you are still experiencing symptoms a year after the birth, you should speak to your healthcare provider. You may need treatment to reduce the symptoms. Steroid injections are often used to reduce inflammation. In rare cases, a surgical procedure may be needed to reduce compression of the median nerve.

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.