Pregnancy puts a fair amount of pressure on a woman’s body (okay—a lot of pressure!). The back, hips, and feet are all stressed supporting the extra weight of a growing baby, but did you know that hands can suffer during pregnancy too?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (or CTS), a condition where the median nerve running from the neck through the hand becomes compressed, is experienced by approximately 31 to 62 percent of pregnant women. It pops up most often in the third trimester when weight gain is at its peak and causes severe tingling, pain, and numbness in the wrist and fingers.
Dr. Jason Somogyi, one of our hand and wrist specialists at Texas Orthopedics, says that the excess fluid present during pregnancy is one contributing factor to CTS—as the additional fluid puts pressure on the median nerve leading to the compression of it and subsequent pain.
Tips for Easing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain:
- Stay well-hydrated and minimize salt intake to reduce extra fluid retention.
- Practice good posture to encourage regular circulation of fluids throughout the body.
- Soak hands in cold water baths or use cold compresses to reduce swelling.
- Perform gentle hand exercises (like squeezing a tennis ball) and wrist stretches to keep fluids pumping.
For most women, CTS pain diminishes after pregnancy as the body returns to normal.
If it does not gradually go away, or the pain is too debilitating while still pregnant, then it’s time to see your orthopedic specialist.
(Adapted from Today’s Parent)