Why do pregnant mothers’ palms become numb?

By: - 21st March 2019

It is common knowledge that a mother who has conceived a baby faces various types of difficulties and complications until the delivery happens. One such complication that pregnant mothers face is the numbness in hands. Today, our article is aimed at informing mothers about this condition.

This is mostly felt on the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger, and pain is experienced as a tingling, numb sensation. Some mothers experience it only in one hand while some can even experience this in both hands.

Your hand may feel weak when you are doing activities such as squeezing grated coconut to extract milk or wringing clothes, and also you would feel that your grip has weakened as well. This can intensify during the night time and keeping the hand in a downward hanging manner can alleviate the condition.

During pregnancy, the fluids in your body increase and this results in oedema which presses the Median Nerve that innervates the muscles in the areas of thumb, index finger, and middle finger as well as the palm. Other causes of this condition are broken wrist bone, diabetics, a decrease in Thyroid hormone, obesity, and joint pains.

Usually this condition occurs in the second and third trimesters of the pregnancy and most of the time, eases off after delivery. Sometimes, there are cases in which it can persist even after the delivery.

Symptoms of a pregnant mother with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or numbness in hands:

  • Tingling sensation and numbness in one part of the hand (thumb, index finger, middle finger, or ring finger).
  • An intense pain running from the wrist bone to the hand.
  • A pain in fingers.
  • A hard feeling in the hand in the mornings or numbness.
  • Weakened thumb.
  • Inability to hold things (dropping things).
  • Sleeplessness at night due to the pain or numbness.
  • Numbness that happens when driving a vehicle.
  • Inability to open things (such as by rotating or turning).
  • Difficulty in brushing teeth or bathing etc.

Treatments given to a pregnant mother with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or numbness in hands:

  • Using a splint or bandage to prevent the wrist from bending especially at night.
  • Avoid activities that involve moving the wrist bone.
  • Cold therapy.
  • Resting your hands.
  • Keeping the wrist area in an elevated position Eg; on top of few pillows.
  • Yoga.
  • Exercising.
  • Limiting the intake of salty foods.
  • Lifting the hand above your head and folding the fingers.
  • Relieving pain (massage, medicine).
  • Dipping your hand in hot water and ice water alternatively, 30 seconds in each. Do this for about 3 minutes or as required.
  • Exercises for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in a pregnant mother:

  • Raise your hand and spread your fingers as much as possible. Keep the fingers spread for few seconds before bringing them back together.
  • Make a fist and press your fingers hard.
  • Slowly move your hand up and down, side to side, and in a circular motion. (Stop if this exercise causes pain.)
  • Chinese Acupuncture treatments as per doctor’s advice.
Prepared in consulation with Dr. Nirmalee Ekanayake of Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital.

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