Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

After the birth of your child, you begin to structure a routine with your baby– When to feed, when to sleep, when to change their diaper. These tasks are part of the bonding experience but they can come with some unexpected discomfort. With repetitive hand movements and lifting of your newborn is the chance to develop symptoms of Carpal Tunnel- an uncomfortable tingling or pain in your hand, wrist, and arm that occurs when your median nerve is compressed. Located on the palm side of your hand, the carpal tunnel is a space between your carpal bones and your retinaculum ligament that protects your median nerve as well as many ligaments that attach your forearms to your fingers.  You can think of your carpal tunnel as a safe space for the nerve that is in control of the mobility in your hand and wrist to lie within your arm. When this nerve gets pinched or compressed, many symptoms can occur: – weakness in the hand, wrist and fingers – numbness in parts of the hand and wrist – numbness or tingles usually starting in your fingertips and working its way through your hand – pain starting in the fingertips and working its way up your arm. carpal tunnel Although pre-pregnancy factors like obesity, thyroid disorders, arthritis and diabetes can increase your chances of Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, many women without these disorders can still experience acute to severe symptoms during post partum and in some cases, during pregnancy (around the second trimester). Some women may experience slight tingling while others have to incorporate strategies into their new role to prevent damaging their wrists and hands. But why is this happening? When pregnant, your body is doubling your blood volume to provide to your baby, placenta and daily growth. This increase in liquid can add pressure to many parts of your body, including your median nerve and that is when you start to experience Carpal Tunnel. With a combination of swelling and repetitive motions, you start to get the tingling nerve sensitivity in your fingertips and wrists. Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel tends to resolve itself in the weeks or months surrounding your labour as long as you tend to its needs. There are many strategies that you can incorporate into your routine to reduce the stresses of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on your wrists and hands: -stretching your fingertips and wrists multiple times a day- especially if you have a job that requires repetitive hand motions – massage your arms and hands to help with blood flow – stick to a clean diet free of additives and excess sodium – look into adding anti-inflammatory substances like turmeric and cinnamon into your diet – sleep with your hands by your side, not under your pillow (relieve that pressure!) – reduce time texting and typing if you can – wear a wrist brace or wrap- especially when lifting your newborn or other objects – acupuncture – essential oils with a carrier of arnica or coconut oil (try frankincense, helichrysum or lemongrass) As I always recommend, talk to your health care provider about the symptoms that you are experience and the methods of treatment you are taking. Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can leave a new mother with feelings of anxiety, frustration and disappointment. It is incredibly important to take care of your hands and wrists to prevent the tingling from over-staying its welcome and causing excess stress. The most important thing to remember is that unless you have a genetic predisposition surrounding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it will go away in time. For extra support surround Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please feel free to email me at For a video on stretches for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:   With love, from Ficus.

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