Feeling a little tingly in the wrists? No, it’s not your imagination. It’s not your excitement either. What you’re experiencing is carpal tunnel syndrome, and it’s common in pregnant women.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually associated with repetitive movement, like typing on a keyboard, but at around 24 weeks of pregnancy, a lot of women start experiencing tingling and pain in the wrists and hands for completely different reasons.
Table of Contents
- What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during Pregnancy?
- Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Affect Your Baby?
- 8 Easy Tricks to Alleviate Carpal Tunnel Pain
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during Pregnancy?
Carpal tunnel pain and discomfort during pregnancy can be caused by a lot of things. If you’re spending a lot of time working on the computer, typing may be the root cause. Typing requires repetitive motion, a key contributor to carpal tunnel syndrome. Knitting can cause carpal tunnel pain for the same reason.
But carpal tunnel issues can also be caused by other things when you’re pregnant. Swelling is the likely culprit. Most women experience swelling during their pregnancy, which puts added pressure on the wrists. The extra pressure can cause tingling and aching.
It’s also important to remember that when you’re pregnant, your blood volume can increase by as much as 50%. The increased blood volume helps make sure that the placenta, uterus and your baby are all getting enough nutrients. All of that extra fluid winds up compressing the nerve that runs along your wrist, and causes pain.
Common Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Most women experience these sensations on the palm side of their ring, middle and index fingers. You may also feel pain that starts in your wrists, and radiates up your arm.
Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Affect Your Baby?
Carpal tunnel pain can be bothersome to you, but it won’t affect your baby in any way – unless you decide to take drastic measures, like surgery, to alleviate the pain.
8 Easy Tricks to Alleviate Carpal Tunnel Pain
Looking for safe, easy ways to stop carpal tunnel pain? Here are 8 easy tricks to try:
1. Stretch Your Hands
Stretching is a great way to alleviate pain in the wrists and hands. If you’re working at the computer or on a knitting project (or some other activity that requires repetitive motion), take a break every hour or two to stretch your hands. Try massaging your palms to get rid of some of the tension in your hands.
2. Change Your Sleeping Position
To help prevent swelling and pain in the wrists and hands, try to avoid sleeping on your hands. Instead, use a pillow to support your arms while you sleep.
Experts recommend sleeping on your side, as this allows for good blood flow for both you and your baby. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your bent knees to support your hips and knees.
Keep your hands as relaxed as possible, and try to avoid bending your wrists while you sleep. Try placing your hand on a pillow that’s slightly higher than your chest, but only stick with this position if it feels comfortable for you. Keeping your wrists in a slightly higher position will help bring down the swelling and reduce the amount of fluid pressing on the nerve.
Try not to sleep on your back or your stomach. This can make the swelling worse, while will aggravate carpal tunnel pain.
3. Invest in a Good Wrist Brace
A good wrist brace can help tremendously with carpal tunnel pain and discomfort – especially at night.
A brace will keep your hand in a neutral position, which allows for proper blood flow. Bending your wrists will restrict blood flow and add even more pressure to the nerve in your wrist.
Wrist braces can be bought in most drug stores, so you don’t even have to visit your doctor to get one.
4. Do Some Hand Exercises
Hand exercises, like stretching, are a great way to get rid of carpal tunnel pain. Here are a few to try:
- Flex your wrist, and hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Hold one arm out in front of you, and bend your hand downward, with fingers pointing down and toward your body. Use your other hand to push your raised fingers back towards your chest. You should feel a little tension, but no pain. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat twice on each hand, and perform the exercise three times per day.
- Rotate your wrists. With arms at your side and elbows bent, extend your hands in front of you, palms facing each other. Rotate your hands in an upward motion, and focus on bending at the wrist. Rotate 15 times upwards, and 15 times downwards. Repeat three times per day.
Consistency is the key to finding relief. You’ll need to perform these exercises several times per day to see results, but it’s worth the effort.
5. Get a Massage
In addition to massaging your hands, consider getting regular neck and upper back massages to relieve tension and help improve your upper body posture. Rolled shoulders and neck cramps can add more stress and pressure on the nerves in your arms.
6. Stay Active
Exercise is important for pregnant women, although you shouldn’t go overboard. Routine exercise will improve blood flow, which can help reduce swelling and pressure while alleviating any tension that may be making your pain worse.
Yoga is a great way to stay active while also stretching the arms and wrists.
7. Consider Acupressure
Many women are able to effectively alleviate carpal tunnel pain just by applying pressure to certain areas of the wrist. Acupressure can work wonders for carpal tunnel syndrome whether you’re pregnant or not. Focus on putting pressure on the pericardium point 6.
8. Talk to Your Doctor
If the pain is preventing you from sleeping normally and affecting your daily routine, talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, which is often given to carpal tunnel patients.
These 8 tricks can help you finally get rid of the carpal tunnel pain you’re experiencing during your pregnancy. The good news is that even if all the tricks in the book don’t work for you, the pain and discomfort should subside after you give birth and all of the swelling goes down.