You may be having symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although this condition occurs most commonly in women between 40 and 60 years old, often as a result of repetitive movements of the wrists and hands, it also occurs in as many as 25 percent of pregnant women. In pregnancy, hormonal effects, swelling, and weight gain can compress the nerve inside the carpal tunnel, which is a sheath of tissue surrounding the median nerve. This nerve supplies the thumb, the first two fingers, and half of the ring finger. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are numbness, tingling, pain, and often a burning sensation in these areas, on one or both hands. Treatment includes wearing a wrist splint at night and during activities that make the symptoms worse, such as driving a car or holding a book. You may also be able to relieve the discomfort by rubbing or shaking your hands. Although the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be disturbing, they almost always disappear after the baby is born.
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Ask Tori RN®, by registered nurse and resident author of The Joy of Pregnancy, is a helpful and reassuring resource for parents-to-be.
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