Rostislav Sedlacek/Fotolia

How To Relieve Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel, Because You Have Enough Going On

Ad failed to load

Being a professional writer and full-time student, I've grappled with the pains of repetitive use injuries like carpal tunnel. Yesterday, I woke up with such an ache across my neck and shoulder with tingling sensations in my fingers. I'd had it before, and wanted it gone. In pregnancy, treating nerve pain is harder — many of the meds are contraindicated for pregnancy, and simple pain relief is often out of your grasp. (No pun intended.) Determining how to relieve pregnancy carpal tunnel becomes paramount for your well-being if you're suffering from the painful condition.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition wherein there is pressure on the median nerve at the wrist, and it causes a tingling or numb sensation spiderwebbing out from the point of pressure, according to The New York Hand and Wrist Center. Essentially a pinched nerve in the wrist, it is traditionally treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids, but NSAIDs are unsafe during pregnancy, and steroids are only safe for limited use during the third trimester, noted a study in The Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. Non-pharmacological methods for relief include splinting, therapy, stretching, and frequent breaks from activities that inflame the disorder, like typing and chopping. Swelling during pregnancy is the primary factor that contributes to the condition appearing other than genetic predisposition, so it's important to try to prevent the swelling before it becomes issue enough to press on the median nerve.

Ad failed to load

According to the doctors at The New York Hand and Wrist Center, carpal tunnel can cause pain, numbness, and grip issues, making your grasp weaker and slower to respond. The causes are varied and not well known, but during pregnancy, the increased fluid in your body, and the tendency to retain that fluid in the extremities like the hands and feet, cause the nerve to be pressed more easily and readily than during other points of your life.

In the case of pregnancy-related carpal tunnel, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, according to the American Society for Surgery of The Hand. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid fluid retention, avoid sleeping on your hands at night — a hard ask when you already have so many strictures on how you can and cannot sleep during pregnancy — and take frequent breaks from activities that cause the tingling and cramping to spike, like typing, cleaning, tennis, and chopping food. You should also be sure to stretch your hands multiple times per day. If you can minimize the incidences of swelling, then your nerve is less likely to be adversely affected.

According to the Mayo Clinic, poor posture is also a risk factor for carpal tunnel because it compresses the neck and spine, which affects the wrists and hands. Maintaining good posture during pregnancy is complicated at the best of times, and when you're in pain, it seems impossible. How to relieve pregnancy related carpal tunnel is tricky, but the Mayo Clinic had a few tips, like keeping your hands warm because cold hands are more likely to sense the nerve pressure, and keeping your hands and wrists level with splints.

Ad failed to load

If it gets too painful, there are some pharmacological remedies available in your third trimester, but it would be under the close supervision of your doctor. Also, some physicians will recommend physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, and TENS machine therapy, but those are all under the banner of a prescribed action of a physician. While they may offer relief, they're not something you'd want immediate access to without their guidance.

CTS is a burden felt keenly by many pregnant women, and combined with all of the other quotidian annoyances of pregnancy, it can feel particularly debilitating. Talk to your OB-GYN, and they might refer you to an orthopedic surgeon or a physical therapist for further evaluation. It's incredibly annoying and inconvenient, but with splints and rest, it really can improve.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

7 Hilarious Differences Between Having A Baby In Your 20s Vs Your 30s

I was 24 when I had my daughter. And even though that pregnancy was neither expected nor pleasant, I was optimistic. Sure, I guess your 20s are "supposed" to be about finding yourself, finishing college, starting your career, and navigating less-than…
By Candace Ganger

Babies "R" Us Was The First Place I Went When I Found Out I Would Be A Mom

For years I struggled to have a baby, and the sight of toys and layettes made my heart hurt. For me, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us were a complete no-go zone, a reminder of everything I was missing out on. My mom would walk the long way around Target…
By Becky Bracken

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger