If you are experiencing any tingling or numbness in your hands during pregnancy, you are probably suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome. Although most people associate carpel tunnel with jobs that require you to make repetitive movements (like assembly line or data entry type occupations), carpel tunnel in pregnancy is common.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Symptoms of carpel tunnel in pregnancy include numbness or a tingly sensation in your fingers, hands, and wrists. Pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel can also cause you to experience pain, a dull ache, or burning. Your hand may feel weak and clumsy. Its also possible for pregnant women with carpel tunnel to have their symptoms extend from the arm up to the shoulder.
Carpel tunnel in pregnancy is unpleasant, and it can affect both hands (not just one). Carpel tunnel syndrome often begins in the second trimester, when you start to retain more fluid. Like with any other pregnancy symptom, carpel tunnel syndrome often goes away after you give birth to your baby.
Causes of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy
To understand carpel tunnel in pregnancy, you must learn about hand anatomy. Your carpel tunnel is a bony canal that’s formed by the wrist bones on three sides, and a ligament that runs across your wrist.
In the second trimester, when pregnancy swelling (also called edema) is a problem, this extra fluid can increase the pressure in the carpel tunnel – which is a rather narrow space – and compresses the median nerve that runs through your carpal tunnel. As a result of this change, carpel tunnel is common in pregnancy.
Treatment for Carpel Tunnel in Pregnancy
If you are suffering from carpel tunnel symptoms, you can get some relief from your discomfort by avoiding any activity that requires repetitive hand movements. This is not always possible, especially if your job requires you to sit on a computer and type. Repetitive movements are not the cause of carpel tunnel in pregnancy, but they can make this pregnancy symptom worse.
If your job requires you to perform repetitive hand movements, you should consider buying a wrist or hand brace. This may give you some relief. If carpel tunnel starts to bother you during the nighttime hours, consider wearing your hand brace during sleep. You will also want to avoid sleeping on your hands.
When pain from carpal tunnel syndrome strikes and wakes you up, you might get some relief by shaking your hand until the numbness or discomforts go away.
Some pregnant women find that practicing yoga relieves the pain and discomfort from carpel tunnel syndrome. Applying ice packs may also give you some relief.
Before you take any pain medication, always talk to your doctor about what he or she recommends. Remember that no medicine is 100 percent safe and the ingredients have the potential to cross the placenta to your vulnerable infant.
In most cases, carpel tunnel syndrome goes away after delivery.