Carpal tunnel syndrome is a tingly, numb and painful sensation in the wrists and hands that develops usually in the third trimester (28+ weeks). It is common in pregnancy and occurs when there is swelling around the nerves in the wrist. Usually, women who have carpal tunnel syndrome will have swelling in their lower legs and feet as well.
Carpal tunnel gets better within 6-12 weeks after the birth of the baby, along with other body swelling.
If you have carpal tunnel, you may find it difficult to grip things and do anything which requires fine movements of your hands and fingers. You may find that you drop things easily and that you have lost the strength in your hands and wrists.
I usually recommend that women with carpal tunnel see a chiropractor or osteopath as there is sometimes an underlying skeletal issue that makes the carpal tunnel worsen, and relief can be almost instantaneous with chiropractic or osteopathic care.
There are also exercises that women can do to relieve the sensations. These include squeezing a small ball, massage of the hands and wrists, and making circular movements of the hands. These exercises encourage fluid to move away from the hands and wrists. Stretching exercises can also be helpful.
Melissa Maimann is an endorsed eligible midwife in private practice in Sydney. One of the first eligible midwives in Australia, Melissa now offers a range of care options for women including private midwifery care, antenatal shared care and birth support. Visit Melissa's website to learn more about her services.