Pregnancy numbness in the hands is a very common problem. It can happen to any woman during her pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called relaxin. It relaxes ligaments and tendons and allows for increased mobility for the baby to move around as it grows. It can also cause pain in the hips and lower back.
The relaxin hormone also causes swelling in the pelvic region. It can lead to numbness in the hands and feet. If this happens to you, don’t worry—it’s a normal part of pregnancy!
So what else do you need to know about pregnancy numbness in hands? Please read along.
What Is Pregnancy Numbness in Hands and Fingers?
Pregnancy numbness in hands and fingers is a common complaint among pregnant women. Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the affected area characterises this condition. It is most common in the third trimester but can occur at any point during pregnancy.
While pregnancy numbness is usually benign, it can be painful or uncomfortable. Sometimes, it may also lead to difficulty performing everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces or opening doors.
If you are experiencing pregnancy numbness, you can do a few things to ease your symptoms.
Woman’s hands | Image from Pexels
Pins and Needles in Hands
Many pregnant women experience numbness and tingling in their hands and fingers. This condition is often called pregnancy pins and needles. The compression of nerves in the wrist and hand causes this. Pregnancy pins and needles can occur at any time during pregnancy but are most common in the second and third trimesters.
Pregnancy pins and needles are usually harmless but can be uncomfortable and painful. If you are experiencing pregnancy pins and needles, talk to your doctor. Sometimes, they may recommend wearing a splint or taking pain medication. Pregnancy pins and needles usually go away after pregnancy.
But, if the numbness and tingling persist, it could be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Many different types of numbness may occur during pregnancy. Hand numbness is often associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. It occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve. It can happen when you put pressure on your wrists (such as holding onto a steering wheel for long periods).
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a possible effect of swelling. It’s something due to fluid retention from pregnancy. Or it could be from an injury or accident that causes swelling around the wrist area. Some pregnant women may experience hand numbness because they are carrying multiples (twins) or that they have a large baby inside their womb (a big baby).
Causes of Pregnancy Numbness in Hands and Fingers
The exact cause of pregnancy numbness in hands and fingers isn’t known. But there could be a link to increased pressure on nerves within the pelvis. This happens as your uterus enlarges during pregnancy.
It can compress certain parts of the nervous system. This includes those responsible for sending signals to our brains. They tell what parts of our bodies are feeling numb, cold or hot.
There are several reasons why you may experience pregnancy numbness in your hands:
- The extra weight of your pregnant belly can cause these symptoms.
- A shift in weight distribution can also cause these symptoms
- If you have poor posture while sitting at work or while doing any activity outside of work
- Working with vibrating tools for long periods without taking breaks from them
Image Source: iStock
Complications of Pregnancy Numbness in Hands and Fingers
If you experience numbness in your hands or fingers during pregnancy, it is important to seek medical attention right away. This is because numbness can lead to other problems which may be uncomfortable or painful for you. In some cases, it can lead to nerve damage which can cause pain when using your hand or fingers for movement.
Additionally, numbness can state something wrong with your heart rate. It could be dangerous for you and your baby if left untreated.
How Long Does Pregnancy Numbness Last?
Pregnancy numbness usually goes away after delivery. But if it does not, there may be something wrong with your health condition. Or you may have developed diabetes during pregnancy. It could lead to severe complications later. It affects life for both mother and child alike.
How to Prevent Pregnancy Numbness in Hands and Fingers
Numbness in the hands and fingers happens because the pregnant belly’s extra weight puts pressure on the nerves in the arms and hands. You can do a few things to help prevent this problem.
Hand massage | Image from Pexels
- Wear a brace or splint on your wrist to relieve pressure on the nerves.
- Keep your elbows and shoulders relaxed.
- Take breaks often to move around and stretch your arms and hands.
- Massage your hands and fingers regularly to improve blood circulation.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes that don’t constrict your movement.
- Avoiding repetitive motions will help to prevent further irritation of the nerves.
By following these simple tips, you can help prevent pregnancy numbness in your hands and fingers.
How to Treat Pregnancy Numbness in Hands and Fingers
Pregnancy numbness typically starts in the hands and fingers. The extra weight of the baby puts pressure on the nerves. While this is usually nothing to worry about, it can be pretty uncomfortable. Here are a few tips to help relieve pregnancy numbness:
- Take periodic breaks throughout the day to give your hands and fingers a break from the extra weight.
- Stretch your hands and fingers.
- Gently massage your hands and fingers to improve circulation.
- Elevate your hands and fingers often to reduce swelling
- Try not to sleep on your stomach or side as this can increase pressure on the nerves.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes to avoid constricting the blood flow to your extremities.
- Avoid activities that need repetitive hand motions. Or put pressure on your wrists, such as typing or using a mouse.
If you are still experiencing discomfort after trying these tips, be sure to talk to your doctor. There may be other methods to help relieve your pregnancy numbness.
Pregnancy 101: 6 Types of Pains and Ways to Manage Them
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome During Pregnancy – Why It Happens and How to Relieve Pain
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Here are several ways to treat numbness in the hands and feet after delivery.
- One easy way is to wear a supportive brace on the wrist. It will help to take some of the pressure off of the nerves and ease symptoms.
- Another option is to massage the affected area with lotion or oil. It can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
- Finally, staying hydrated. And avoiding excessive salt intake is essential, as this can exacerbate symptoms.
With a bit of care and attention, numbness in the hands and fingers after delivery is typically a minor issue that resolves itself quickly.
When to See a Doctor About Pregnancy Numbness in Hands and Fingers
If you are experiencing numbness that doesn’t go away, see your doctor right away. Numbness that lasts more than six weeks is considered chronic, which means it has gone on too long and could be a sign of other problems.
Here are some other reasons why you should see a doctor:
- If tingling or burning sensations accompanies numbness
- If pain or weakness in one or both arms accompanies numbness
- If you have any known heart conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease
- If the numbness comes on suddenly
- If you have swelling in your hands or face
- If you have any other symptoms along with the numbness (like headaches or blurred vision)
If your numbness is severe or if it is with other symptoms, ask your doctor about getting an MRI scan. The MRI can help determine whether your numbness is a carpal tunnel syndrome symptom. Or another condition requiring treatment.
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