Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is very common among pregnant women. For those who do not know what a carpal tunnel syndrome is, it is the sensation of pain, numbness and tingle in your hands, fingers and at times, even in your arm. Carpal tunnel while pregnant is caused by fluid build-up in the tissues of the wrist.  There is a carpal tunnel in your wrist formed by the wrist bones. At times, due to certain health conditions, there is a fluid build-up in the area. This fluid build-up, also known as oedema, squeezes a nerve, a prime nerve known as the median nerve that leads to your fingers, thus causing the sensation. This numbness and pain in the hands causes the grip to turn weak in women and the ladies tend to drop things more often. Carpal tunnel can be detected through a physical examination and might also include an X-ray and a nerve study at times.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in pregnancy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy:

What is it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in pregnancy starts generally from the second or third trimester. It is generally found that women, who have experienced CTS in their first pregnancy, are like to experience it in their subsequent pregnancies as well.  The carpal tunnel in pregnancy affects the dominant hand of the woman the most. It is generally more painful in morning hours and when you hit the bed at night.

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Doctors have suggested some common reasons as to why women experience the CTS. CTS is more likely to affect a woman if she has a family history of it or if the pregnant lady has previously experienced some pain around the collar bone or rib cage, as this is the area where the median never passes through before entering your hands. If there is too much of swelling of breasts or in case the woman is expecting multiple children, then the CTS is more prominent. Also, weight issues lead to CTS, if a woman was overweight before getting pregnant or if she puts on a few extra kilos in course of her pregnancy then the CTS is more likely to affect her because the added weight puts more strains on the collar bones and shoulder. The carpal tunnel syndrome does not affect your child in any way so mums-to-be do not have to worry about that. It mostly happens because during pregnancy, blood volume in body increases by half of what it generally is, to ensure proper blood supply to your baby and this increased blood volume puts pressure on your nerves.

What to do?

Carpal Tunnel during pregnancy, no doubt, is very painful and uncomfortable but it is likely to reduce within the first three months of child birth. Generally, after child birth the body fluids behave more rationally and the oedema build up reduces, leading to normal hands and fingers. For women who seek to prevent carpal tunnel in pregnancy, it is advisable that you watch out what you eat. Sticking to a balanced diet reduces the chances of getting CTS. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat foods that are rich in vitamin B6. Good sources of this vitamin are hazelnuts, garlic, broccoli, lean meat and avocados.

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What to do in case of no relief?

If however you still seem to experience CTS, there are few natural ways to combat the pain and feel more at ease. Move your wrist in a circular movement. This should clear the congestion of fluid built up in the carpal area and reduces the numbness in your fingers and hands. You could also stretch out your hands and fingers. However, if you notice an increase in pain because of stretching, stop immediately because at times, stretching increases the pain in the region. If you notice that there are certain activities that increase pressure on your wrists and aggravate the pain, it is best to not do such things. Avoid repetitive hand movements.

Wear a wrist splint at night so that your wrists do not curl up as you sleep. Also, sleep on your pillow and not on your hands to reduce pressure on them.

Ask your midwife to massage your hands and wrists gently.

Studies have also found that camomile tea helps reduce the pain cause because of carpal tunnel during pregnancy. However, refrain from drinking more than a cup because it can have side effects and instead of putting you to sleep, extra tea may keep you awake the entire night.

So, here are the basic questions answered about what a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is and why it affects you and also what can you do to keep the pain away. There might be some women who do not feel it at all throughout the nine and some, for whom the pain might be too much to tackle from the 24th week on wards. It depends largely from person to person. However, if you happen to be somebody who is badly affected by the carpal tunnel syndrome then take good care of yourself and avoid pressure on your wrists. Also, stick to a balanced diet and do not dwell much on the pain.

It is very likely that the pain will fade away soon after your child birth. Do not jump the gun and opt for a surgery because not only will that strain your body and your baby but also the pain will gradually reduce once your baby is born and you always have your child birth to look forward to as a compensation for all your pain. After child birth, as things inside your body return to normal, so will your median nerve and the pain you experience will diminish greatly. Consult your doctor if there is excessive pain and take good care of yourself!

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