How to Stop Wrist Pain during Pregnancy

prenatal health

Wrist Pain during Pregnancy

Did you know that up to 60% of women get wrist pain during pregnancy? Protecting your wrists and preventing carpal tunnel syndrome is so important throughout pregnancy.

This pain does tend to occur more in the third trimester, but can also occur at various other stages. A lot of the tingling is due to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when Pregnant

Why does this occur? Fluid retention during pregnancy puts more pressure on the carpal tunnel. This runs from your wrist to the bottom of your palm. As you are well aware, pregnancy can affect every part of your body, including your hands.

If you are experiencing numbness, tingling or soreness, make sure you talk to your doctor about carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are pregnant, and work at a computer, then you may start to feel an uncomfortable pain in the wrists, hands and fingers.

Yes, it can be due to work that requires repetitive motion such as typing. But it could also be caused by you being pregnant.

Do You Feel Numbness in Your Hands while Sleeping?

Tingling and numbness in the hands usually occurs because of carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is caused by pressure on a nerve within the wrist. You may be able to relieve some symptoms by wearing 'wrist splints' at night when you are sleeping. Also, try some of my stretching and strengthening exercises for the wrist.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy

1. Numbness and tingling in fingers, wrists, and hand.

2. Throbbing sensation in hands, wrists, and fingers.

3. Swollen fingers.

4. Trouble gripping objects.

5. Problems performing fine motor skills.

Are some pregnant women at an increased risk?

Yes, some pregnant women are more prone to develop CTS than others. Here are some risk factors of CTS:

1. Past pregnancies

Relaxin may be seen in higher amounts in subsequent pregnancies. This hormone helps the pelvis and cervix expand during pregnancy in preparation for childbirth. It can also cause inflammation in the carpal tunnel, squeezing the median nerve.

2. Being overweight before becoming pregnant

It's unclear if weight causes CTS. But pregnant women who are overweight or obese receive diagnoses with the condition more frequently than pregnant women who aren't overweight or obese.

3. Having pregnancy-related diabetes or hypertension

Gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension can both lead to fluid retention and subsequent swelling. This, in turn, can increase the risk of CTS.

4. High blood sugar levels can also cause inflammation.

This may further increase the risk of CTS.

When Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Start during Pregnancy?

Most pregnant women feel the pain and numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome in the third trimester. These symptoms are more acute at night. It's likely due to the fact that fluids accumulate in the lower part of your body during the day.

Then, at night, they are redistributed to your extremities when you lie down. This results in more pressure on your nerves and ligaments.

How to Stop Wrist Pain during Pregnancy

Your goal now is to try and reduce the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. Doing this will go a long way in helping you to be symptom-free after childbirth.

1. Keep the blood flowing. Shake your hands out frequently.

2. Use a wrist brace.

3. Try some of my stretching exercises for the wrists.

4. Buy an ergonomic keyboard designed to protect your hands and fingers.

5. Avoid sleeping on your hands.

6. Use ice for pain. Never apply ice directly on your skin.

7. Ask your doctor about medication.

Call Doctor If:

1. If you experience numbness, tingling, or pain in your hand or wrist.

2. You have pain traveling up your arm to your shoulder.

Step-by-Step Care for Wrist Pain

1. Perform range-of-motion exercises that stretch your wrist.

2. Apply ice for pain and reduce inflammation.

3. Try and avoid repetitive wrist and hand motions. And avoid positions or activities that make pain or numbness worse.

4. Wearing a wrist splint to bed keeps your wrists from curling while you sleep, which contributes to pain.

5. Yoga can help with the right exercises.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding may be painful with carpal tunnel syndrome because you use your wrist to hold your baby's head and your breast in the proper position for nursing.

What you should try and do is experiment with different positions. You may want to use a pregnancy pillow or blankets to prop, support, or brace when needed.

You may find that breastfeeding while lying on your side with the baby facing you works well. With this position, you sit upright and place your baby on the side of your arm with your baby's head close to your torso.

When Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome End?

You will likely start to notice the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome disappearing after delivery. This is when pregnancy swelling diminishes.