What's Keeping Me Up At Night? Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

22 weeks. I'll be 22 weeks on Tuesday and I feel like I'm sleeping as well as I would if I were in the last weeks of my pregnancy.
Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Thirsties Blog
Why? One little nuisance called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This is an ailment that some people have to deal with all the time, pregnant or not; I feel for you seriously if you're living with this 24/7. If you aren't familiar with CTS, I'll explain it to you in easy non-medical terms (we're all parents, right? Sometimes I just don't want to think more than I have to!): Everyone has a nerve in their hand that helps control the muscle at the base of your thumb (look at your hand and move your thumb, see it?). The nerve runs through a bony canal or "tunnel" called the carpal tunnel. The extra blood and fluid that your body produces during pregnancy causes pressure on the tunnel and makes it smaller. That makes the nerve that runs through it compressed. The compression causes the pins and needles and numbness feeling in your hand. CTS is most common in people who have occupations that require repetitive movements like typing on a computer or working on an assembly line. It's common to be worse at night; which is partly why I've been sleeping so terribly. Most CTS symptoms develop in the second trimester but with this pregnancy I noticed it right away. It was one of the signs that made me think I was pregnant. I didn't have it with my first pregnancy but I definitely did in my second pregnancy. If you've had CTS with a pregnancy it's more likely to happen with subsequent pregnancies. So what can you do? There are a few things that can help you cope with this annoying pregnancy problem. One of those things is wearing a wrist brace at night. This helps position your hand so that the tunnel the nerve runs through remains opened and not compressed by the water and blood redistributing in your body. Your doctor can help you in choosing the correct wrist brace. You can also try shaking your hands out periodically during the day. You can hang your hand over the bed at night and shake it out. If you can actually remember to do this in the middle of the night, let me know your trick. It's hard enough for me to make it to the bathroom in one piece let alone hang my hand over the side of the bed and shake it! I'm going to give the wrist brace a try. I know it'll take some getting used to but it's got to be better than what I have been doing...which is nothing, other than repositioning myself what feels like 100 times a night. Have you experienced pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? What helped you relieve the numbness and tingling feeling?
Previous post Next post

43 comments

  • I had this with my third pregnancy and it was horrible! I wish I would’ve tried a brace. It finally went away, three weeks postpartum. Like you said above, I feel sorry for the people that deal with this 24/7.

    Ashlie Miller on
  • I had a touch of carpal tunnel syndrome before getting pregnant. My wrist would just become painfully stiff and I would have to rotate my wrists until they cracked to make it feel better. Of course, doing that was also making it worse! But during my first trimester, I noticed daily activities were becoming increasingly difficult to do. Things like brushing my teeth, sweeping, braiding my hair. It got to the point right at the end of my second trimester that I had very little strength in my fingers and hands at all. I started dropping things. I was put on pregnancy disability because of it at 25 weeks because of a lifting restriction the doctor gave me. I’m now 29 weeks along and it is still getting much worse each week.

    In addition to wearing a brace (especially at night), I find that simple stretches throughout the day help. Just Google carpal tunnel stretches. Also, ICE! It helps with the swelling, which helps with the pain. Not much to do about the tingling, though!

    Tricia Maze on
  • I feel your pain! With my first I had pregnancy induced carpal tunnel and it was AWFUL! Noting seemed to help except keeping my wrist straight or rolling it around. Now I’m 38 weeks with number two and pregnancy insomnia. I can’t wait until I can get sleep again!!

    Ashley on
  • Thankfully my cts went away in middle of third trimester.

    Jennifer on
  • I hate to be the barer of bad news, but a similar condition can come to play after the baby is born due to poor nursing and handling techniques. This time caused not by the comression of the carpel tunnel, but the over extension of the thumb.

    Luckily icing (for no longer than 10 minutes at a time) and braces are a huge help. Should problems persist the best person to see, hands down (very punny, sorry), is an Occupational Therapist who specializes in hands.

    Fiona on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published