It may be something that we usually associate with computer use and other repetitive stresses, but carpal tunnel during pregnancy is also a common reality.
Carpal tunnel during pregnancy, if not an actual disability it can result in a lot of inconvenience for an expectant mother and according to some estimates, it may affect up to 28% of pregnancies.
Why does Carpal Tunnel occur during pregnancy?
It is understood that the main reasons behind this is the hormonal changes and water retention that are common symptoms of pregnancy. The symptoms of carpal tunnel usually occur in the later stages of the pregnancy.
It can happen that the symptoms disappear after the arrival of the baby, or they can continue even months of years thereafter.
What are the symptoms of Carpal tunnel during pregnancy?
Hand pain and hand numbness are the most common symptoms of carpal tunnel. There could be tingling sensations in the fingers, and hands or shooting pain that radiates up the forearm.
The numbness could result in the woman’s inability to hold things and use her hands properly. Sometimes this pain can travel all the way up to the shoulders and the neck. These aches and pains can result in disturbance of sleep, which can be detrimental to mother and baby.
Women who are engaged in tasks such as using the computer, typing, playing an instrument, driving or cooking may find difficulty in doing these routine tasks.
Women may wake up in the night with hand pain and numbness, as well as stiffness and cramping. There could be thumb weakness, resulting in frequent dropping of things.
What treatment can be followed for carpal tunnel during pregnancy?
Resting the affected parts of the body, viz. the hands in a neutral position and use of splints or wrist braces to do so helps to reduce pressure on the carpal tunnel of the hand, and can remedy the situation. It is best not to take anti inflammatory drugs during pregnancy since they can negatively impact the unborn child.
Firstly one must lower one’s salt intake so that the body does not continue to retain so much water and there is a lessening of the painful symptoms. Then if you are involved in repetitive tasks, take frequent breaks, and vary the tasks from time to time, changing positions and so on.
Sometimes, massage can help to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel in pregnancy, and according to many other women, acupuncture can also help to significantly relieve the symptoms.
For the most part, it may just be time that is needed to treat carpal tunnel during pregnancy. For most women who develop this condition when pregnant, they find that the condition disappears on its own a few weeks after the arrival of the baby, and those nothing specific needs to be done. However for those women who experienced symptoms even before their pregnancy, the symptoms may not disappear on their own and may well need specific medical intervention to help get relief.