Meet Your New Pregnancy Friend: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I thought I’d heard it all about pregnancy symptoms: nausea, fatigue, weight gain, forgetfulness, backaches, pelvic cramps, swelling…but I never thought that whole limbs going numb during pregnancy was possible. But apparently, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during pregnancy is very common (and unfortunately, very annoying).

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during pregnancy most often occurs at night while you’re sleeping. In more severe cases, it tends to be one of the symptoms that keeps you up at night. That’s because most often during pregnancy you sleep on your side, therefore cutting off circulation to your hands or wrists if you lay on them. This may lead you to wake up with your hands and fingers completely numb, often to the point of pain. Sometimes, the numbness reaches your upper arm area.

Another common reason for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is during stroller walking, typing on the computer, or carrying heavy items. During these actions you’re obviously holding your hand in a clenched position, cutting off circulation and causing your hands to go numb almost right away.

Carpal Tunnel during pregnancy can get so bad that it might feel impossible to even open a water bottle, or hold up your hair straightener to do your hair! You may even need to wake up earlier than usual to give your Carpal Tunnel a chance to die down in the morning, as that seems to be its peak time.

But the core reason for Carpal Tunnel and why it happens so much more during pregnancy, is because of the extra water retention your body experiences during pregnancy. And according to my local OB doc, there are different ways to handle the situation, but like anything else, it depends on the person.

  1. You can try purchasing wrist guards to keep you wrists from bending at night while you sleep. But this doesn’t seem to help the cutting off of the hand circulation if you happen to lay on it. But, if it’s the bending position that causes the numbness for you, you can try asking your doctor to provide you with a pair of wrist guards, as a pair may cost up to $50 at the drug store.
  2. A similar and less expensive alternative is using medical wraps to keep you wrists still. But again, this doesn’t help with the cutting of the circulation. Especially if you end up wrapping your wrists and hands too tight, your hands might end up falling asleep even more.
  3. Sleep with your hands by your sides, but risen by a pillow or two. Keeping your hands elevated may help with circulation.
  4. Sleep with your arms stretched out above your head. Again, this may help with wrist circulation.

  5. If you sleep with your little ones, that may not help with the carpal tunnel syndrome situation, because they are probably laying on your arms, or you’re probably laying on your side to make room for them, so before the next baby comes, you can try different techniques to try and get them in your own bed. Of course don’t ask me how to do that one, because I still sleep with my first child, even though I am expecting my third!

It may appease you to know that some days are better than others for your Carpal Tunnel for no particular reason or by no particular effort. ┬áJust when you think you can’t take it any more, you have a nice day without the Carpal Tunnel feeling too bad. But rest assured that it will definitely go away within a few weeks after having your baby!


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