Carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnant women

by | Dec 9, 2021

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Pregnancy often comes with a lot of conditions for different women; one of the most common condition is Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Carpal Tunnel syndrome in pregnant women usually occurs in the first and second trimester and usually wears off after birth. We will examine what Carpal Tunnel syndrome is, the symptoms and treatment.

Firstly, let’s define what a Carpel tunnel is, a carpal tunnel is a small channel in the wrist about 2.5 cm in size that is responsible for protecting the median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb.

What is Carpal Tunnel syndrome? 

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a state that causes numbness, tingling and pain on the wrists. This condition happens due to the swelling around the wrists and the pressure on the median nerve as it moves as it moves through the carpal tunnel.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel syndrome in pregnant women

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes in the body which results to swelling. The swelling around the wrist can cause pressure around the median nerve as it moves in the Carpal Tunnel – which will cause pain in the wrist and hand.

Signs that indicate Carpal Tunnel syndrome during pregnancy

  • Weakness of the thumb, index finger or the palm of your hand.
  • Stinging around the thumb, index finger and middle finger.
  • Throbbing of the wrist or hand
  • Numbness of the thumb, index finger and middle finger.

What is the treatment for Carpal Tunnel syndrome?

The treatment taken depends on the level of your symptoms and the stage of the pregnancy. Here are some of the treatment options:

  • Hoisting up your hands when you not using them.
  • Placing your wrists in a neutral position during the day.
  • Putting an ice pack on wrist or placing your wrist under cold water for two minutes or less.
  • Avoid activities that might cause tension on your wrists.
  • Physiotherapy or occupational therapy.


“Carpal tunnel therapy in women is common but most women usually recover from it soon after the baby is born.” 

– Dr Naadir Bismilla, Orthopaedic Surgeon.