Woman rubbing her sore hand

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition. Around half of all women will experience carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy. This condition causes tingling, numbness and pain in the hands and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect the whole hand, but is most commonly felt in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.

The condition occurs when the nerve that controls sensation and movement in the hands (the median nerve) is compressed. During pregnancy, you carry excess fluids. These fluids accumulate in your body tissues, and may cause swelling. This swelling is thought to cause carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy

The symptoms may start gradually and slowly worsen as the pregnancy progresses. During the third trimester, as your body swells more, you may find your symptoms worsen slightly. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome tend to be worse at night. Symptoms include:

  • tingling in the hands and fingers
  • numbness in the hands and fingers
  • pain in the hands and fingers
  • pins and needles
  • weakened grip
  • dull ache in the arm or wrist

How to ease carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy

The following tips may be useful to relieve the discomfort caused by this condition:

  • avoid repetitive hand and wrist movements
  • avoid sleeping on your hands
  • flex, shake and move your hands when tingling occurs
  • change arm and wrist positions regularly
  • acupuncture

Speak to your healthcare provider

If the pain is stopping you from sleeping, or interfering with your everyday life, you should speak to your healthcare provider. They may recommend a B6 supplement. You should not start taking a B6 supplement without first speaking to your healthcare provider.

If your condition is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend ultrasound therapy to ease your discomfort. If your symptoms worsen at night and prevent you from sleeping, a wrist splint may be recommended.

When will it end?

As your body returns to its normal state after the birth, you should find your symptoms disappear. Most women find that they are no longer suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome three months after the birth.

If you are still experiencing symptoms a year after the birth, you should speak to your healthcare provider. You may need treatment to reduce the symptoms. Steroid injections are often used to reduce inflammation. In rare cases, a surgical procedure may be needed to reduce compression of the median nerve.

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockCarpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy

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Carly
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Carly

Does anyone have this pain and tingling on the soles of ur feet???? I’m in my 2nd trimester it started maybe 5-6 weeks ago… When I get out of bed in the morning the soles of my feet are so painful to walk on for the first maybe 10 steps, then it’s gone but then I have like a dull ache from the knees down like I’ve been on my feet all day… Does anyone know what this is?

Diana
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Yes I have them now also but the symptoms are lighter now at 38 week . (Frequently appearing and disappearing )

Colleen.
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Colleen.

Yes, I have this too!! But it lasts much longer than 10 steps. I describe it to my husband as having small rocks under my skin on the soles if my feet when I walk. It’s hurts!! What is it??

Vixter43
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Vixter43

My thumb keeps clicking in & out of the wrist joint which is very uncomfortable & by the end of the day is so painful. I’ve tried to use a wrist support but this just stops it mid-click which is even worse! I don’t know whether this is carpool tunnel syndrome or something else as it’s not the ligament & I’m not getting pins & needles but the pain is now shooting up my arm to my shoulder! Anyone else getting similar?

Leah
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Leah

To the ladies having foot issues,
It could be that your shoes are not supporting your arches. After my last pregnancy I had that a lot, but I wore flip-flops all summer. I started wearing more supportive shoes with a small heel (1 1/2 inches) and after about a week the pain went away. Before then I would get out of bed and tears would flood my eyes because my feet hurt so bad.
Hope this helps, good luck.

Mia
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Mia

Omg. I’ve been suffering from the foot issue described for some time, but I think it’s attributed to the swelling of my feet and ankles. I also have the carpal tunnel and it’s because of the swelling in my hands. 34 weeks down, 6 weeks to go.

Amy
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Amy

There is a condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome that affects the feet. I believe I had it–my ankles started aching around 28 weeks (as of they were sprained) and I could no longer wear heels/wedge shoes.

Angie
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Angie

I’m 35 weeks pregnant and have the carpal tunnel syndrom in both hands . It’s a real pain at night because which ever side I lay on makes my whole arm and hand get pins and needles and then the pain sets in till I change sides ! , but hey ho just 5 weeks to go !

Dominique
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Dominique

Around wk 32 I started waking up every hour in pain on the side I slept on, resulting in only 3-4 hours sleep every night. After about a week and a half I finally managed to get into the Dr and he confirmed this was the issue. He suggested taking a magnesium and calcium supplement before going to bed and it would help my body with the swelling issue. He told me not to drink as much before going to bed too but unfortunately I also suffer from constant threats of Charlie horses requiring me to hydrate more… loose loose… Read more »

Jeanette Mass
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Jeanette Mass

Omg this was so helpful. I have been in so much pain for the past few weeks and im only 30 weeks. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel before my pregnancy and it has only gotten worst. I wake up crying at least 4 times throught out the night. In the morning i can not even do my daughter hair dor school without stopping atleasg twice. I spoke with my dr. And she just recommend that i just hang in there until pregnancy is over but i dont rhink i can. I have had a hernia, and gald stones and… Read more »

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