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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?
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43 comments

  • The wrist braces at night helped for me, and so did applying heat (running under hot water in the bath, or using heating pads). Definitely no fun, though.

    May T. on
  • I have never experienced this fun side effect; sounds crazy annoying!

    Rachel A. on
  • I didn’t realize this could get worse with pregnancy! I started a new job when I was 12 weeks pregnant (I’m 24 weeks now) and I sand a lot of stuff and my hands and arms have been hurting more than they should. wonder if pregnancy is making it worse!?

    Jessica O on
  • I am glad to know I’m not the only one! The only thing I have found that helps is putting ice on my hands, and also periodically getting up at night for a few minutes. Lucky for me this problem didn’t arise until week 30. After 5 weeks of this I can’t imagine ensuring it the entire pregnancy!

    Meredith on
  • I had some CTS symptoms with this pregnancy, but my biggest discomfort was the sciatic pain. Absolutely excruciating! :( It was gone within a week of delivery!

    Rowan on

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