A pinch point – carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in pregnancy

It’s said that pregnancy is supposed to be one of the most “beautiful and special” moments of a woman’s life. Sure, thick flowing locks and lots of pampering are greatly received, but what about the aliments that no-one every tells you about. Like carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

For me, I glided through pregnancy without nausea, cravings (well none that bad) and indigestion. But one thing that got me was CTS.

Although not widely talked about, CTS affects a whopping 50% of pregnant women (NHS Direct), and can bring about crippling pain and discomfort for the Mother-to-be.

You might be wondering what the heck I’m on about, so let me enlighten you.

Babycentre define it as a “tingling, numb and painful hands during pregnancy”

WristMost frequently occurring in the wrist area, this common problem often looms during the second or final trimester of pregnancy, as a result of the build up of fluid in the body – possibly from the extra weight gain and hormonal changes.

CTS manifests as tingling, numb and painful sensations in the hands, which can be debilitating at best – career limiting at worst (especially if you drive or operate machinery). And in a particularly cruel twist of fate, it tends to be worse in your dominant hand. It is also worse at night and in the morning, when movement is restricted.

As CTS in pregnancy is often considered a temporary issue, surgery is not an advisable in this situation.

Arm Splints

Arm splints were recommended to me by the Doctor, and once I started using them, they made a real difference. Worn at night and during the day, they helped keep the fluids flowing in my wrists, to minimise CTS pain. I’m not going to lie, they take a bit of getting use to, can be restrictive and you’re going to look like Keith Lemon for a while! However, they help and that’s the main thing. (Click image on right for the ones I bought on Amazon)

Acupuncture

As a last hope attempt to address the ongoing pain, I decide to try out acupuncture.

I’ll admit that the thought of someone sticking needles in me freaked me out. So when she offered to put one in my head, I politely declined!

Having never tried it before, I didn’t know what to expect. I imagine the experience varies depending on your circumstances. For me it was quite overwhelming. I could feel parts of my body heat up, and my energy changed. It sounds all very new age, but I totally believe it did something to me that day.

While I didn’t love the experience, I can honestly say it helped improve my CTS. It was about £45 for a half hour session.

I’m by no means a professional medic, or qualified to give medical advice, so please visit Nhs.com for more information or the British Acupuncture Council, and always use a qualified professional.

Have you been through CTS – did any of this help? What worked for you? Let us know…

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  • Carpal Aid

    Great post about carpal tunnel and pregnancy. Wanted to let you know about a med-free, non-invasive alternative to help relieve hand pain: CarpalAID is a small plastic hand patch worn on the palm of the hand — it works by relieving pressure on the median nerve, which is the cause of carpal tunnel hand pain. Let us know if you want more info! CarpalAID.com