Dear Parents,

In this article, I would like to talk about carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy to provide you with more information about this problem. I have seen that many of you don’t really know how to improve your situation. As usual, I will start by explaining the phenomenon to help you understand what is happening, and then I will talk about possible causes, symptoms, impacts and precautions you can take.


In this article:

What’s carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is generally defined as the compression of the median nerve which passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This tunnel is quite narrow and is surrounded by bones and ligaments. With carpal tunnel syndrome, the tunnel shrinks, compressing the nerve leading to swelling. Then come discomforting symptoms for the person.

The median nerve sends signals from the hand to the brain and vice versa. The nerve handles information about temperature (feeling of hot and cold), pain, tactile feelings and movement.

Women (11%) are at higher risk than men (3.5%) for developing this syndrome. It can happen at any age but frequently occurs after 50. A third of cases disappear on their own.

Possible Causes

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US, carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of combining many potential factors.

Selon le National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke des États-Unis, le syndrome du tunnel carpien est la résultante d’une combinaison de plusieurs facteurs possibles.

Some situations lead to increased inflammation in the wrist and further compress the nerve, leading to various symptoms. The nerve itself is fine; it’s the local inflammation around the nerve that causes the appearance of carpal tunnel syndrome. That said, many different situations can increase this inflammation, such as:

  •    Trauma to the wrist;
  •    Some illnesses, such as arthritis, diabetes, thyroid gland issues;
  •    Repeated movements of the hand or wrist over long periods (ex.: mechanics, hairdressers);
  •    A cyst or tumour at the site;
  •    Frequent use of vibrating tools;
  •    And finally, pregnancy. But why?

Hormonal changes, the increase in blood volume and retention create swelling in the pregnant woman’s body and predispose them to the appearance of carpal tunnel syndrome. Median nerve compression, neuronal hypersensitivity, and glucose fluctuation (sugar in the blood) can also play a role in carpal tunneling.

In fact, a pregnancy brings out everything latent in their bodies, vulnerabilities and weaknesses. If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome during your pregnancy, it’s because you would have had it later in life anyways. The arrival of the symptoms and their intensity vary from one woman to another and range from discomfort to total disability. For some, they will have symptoms from the start of pregnancy. For others, only in the last trimester.

To continue reading, go to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms.

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